'Why meow meow has surprised us'
IN more than 20 years Ifor Glyn has never seen a drug become so popular in such a short space of time.
Mr Glyn is one of Wales's most foremost experts on drug abuse, therapy and rehabilitation.
He is director of Swansea Drugs Project, which aims to cut the harm caused by substances such as meow .
"I have never seen a drug become so widespread and so quickly. It has taken me by surprise," he said.
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"The side effects are similar to ecstasy, amphetamine and cocaine.
"I would describe it as the effects of ecstasy times 10.
"People have been suffering with extreme paranoia."
He said people could buy a gram of it for between £5 and £10. "The worry in Swansea is that with that price it is within range of any teenager.
"Users have been injecting it. They have been complaining of abscesses, of it burning when they've injected, and of their veins collapsing, it is quite horrific.
"People don't know what is in it — it is made entirely of chemicals."
There have been reports of the drug being mixed with substances such as cement, bleach and even shattered glass.
In an attempt to try to get ahead of the problem, the drugs project, based in Walter Road, Swansea, has organised a series of training sessions for interested parties to learn more about meow.
Such was the demand for the courses that they have all sold out. "It's essential all healthcare and social care professionals become familiar with the risks and dangers associated with mephedrone as it's something which is becoming increasingly common in Swansea," Mr Glyn said.
"The first session, which was held last week, was fully booked with those attending from various health and social care backgrounds.
"The demand for information regarding mephedrone shows the extent of concern there is in the community and demonstrates workers from a host of different agencies are recognising the need to be better prepared to deal with the risks and dangers associated with meow ."
If you have any queries or concerns about meow or any other drugs contact the project on 01792 472002.