The ban is in effect as of today (16th April), preventing manufacturers tweaking the substances to get around the law.
Drugs are classified according to the harm they cause. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), who advise the government on such matters, say that Mephedrone is similar to amphetamines such as Speed and should be classified as a class B drug.
This means that from today it will be illegal to sell or possess these substances. As a result of this change in the law, there will be a maximum penalty of up to 5 years in jail and an unlimited fine for possession, and 14 years in jail and an unlimited fine for supply & trafficking. The importation of these substances into the country has already recently been banned.
Donia Slyzuk, Strategic Manager Essex Drug & Alcohol Action Team said:
"Just because something says it's legal, doesn't mean it's safe or harmless to use. We are fully supportive of the government's commitment to tackle their emerging threat by making these substances illegal as of today. The Essex Drug & Alcohol Partnership are wholly committed to providing good quality information, advice and education to our communities for all drugs including 'Legal Highs' and commission a number of services to treat and rehabilitate users. Today we have launched a campaign to raise awareness of the health harms of Mephedrone and other so called 'Legal Highs' and to highlight what the new law means to our communities."
Although the risks are now becoming increasingly clear, there is still concern that no one really knows what the exact dangers of Mephdrone are. The current scientific evidence is limited but self reports from users and clinical observations by doctors do suggest that Mephedrone can:
- produce feelings of euphoria and arousal
- make you feel more alert
- make you more talkative
- create feelings of empathy
- reduce inhibitions
- make you feel anxious or paranoid
- over stimulate your heart making it beat faster
- over stimulate your nervous system which can cause fits
- restrict your circulation which can cause cold / blue hands and feet
- damage the nose through snorting and bring on severe nose bleeds
- bring on a low mood and comedown after a binge
- cause death
On the 16th April, EDAP and Rathbone Media launch a 4-week online social media campaign targeting 16-34 year olds in Essex to raise awareness of the new law and its implications whilst also highlighting health harms.
EDAAT Media Contact:
Michelle Baker - 01245 434 651
For help with social media campaigns or advertising on on any other media platforms, please do not hesitate to contact Rathbone Media or visit their advertising agencies website.