MEMORY blackouts, aggressive behaviour and a strong smell of cats urine are all signs a friend or family member may be using Mephedrone, Nick Smith MP has warned.
The Blaenau Gwent MP visited Gwent Police at Ystrad Mynach to see a pilot drug testing scheme that has quadrupled the detection rate for drug abuse.
Prior to the pioneering scheme, the rate of positive drug tests compared to suspected users stood at 8.4% at the Ystrad Mynach and Newport stations, well below the average of 25%.
With the new tests, instigated by the Drug Interventions Programme, six extra types of substances can be detected.
These include Mephamphetamine, which means the presence of Mephedrone can trigger a positive result.
This has resulted in a positive result rate of 39% - an upswing police believe is caused by factors such as a rise in the use of Mephedrone and other New Psychoactive Substances (NPS).
Mr Smith has been campaigning against Mephedrone use, most recently leading a delegation to the Home Office in a bid to get Mephedrone testing standardised across Britain.
He said: “It was good to see the hard work of Gwent Police to send a strong message that using drugs such as Mephedrone isn’t a way to evade the law.
“With more than 70 thefts and burglaries attributed to Mephedrone in the Gwent area since the pilot scheme started, it’s a problem we should all want to be tackled.
“The numbers show it is unfortunately proving popular in younger users who may not realise the long-term dangers.
“Despite new compounds being made to try to evade the law, it is illegal and it can wreck lives in so many ways.
“This is why I am urging the community to know the signs of abuse, and if they need support to call the Wales Drug and Alcohol Helpline on 0800 6 33 55 88.
“Gwent Police are making sure you will get caught – so seek help before the worst happens.”
The most common reported signs and symptoms for Mephedrone use (these can vary depending on the individual, tolerance levels etc.)
• Low moods
• Higher proportion of poly drug use
• Spots / acne
• Weight loss
• Changes in behaviour
• Aggression towards family and friends i.e. asking for money more frequently and becoming aggressive if refused
• Criminal behaviour
• Strong smell of cats urine which is expired through pores (sweating)
• Agitation / low moods (sometimes to the extreme with suicidal thoughts)
• Awake for long periods of time (we believe this is due to the ‘comedown’ being so strong that people will continually use to not ‘comedown’. This is also the reason people poly drug use will use large quantities of valium / MSJ’s etc.
• Some users have reported ‘memory blackouts’
• Longer periods of sleep especially if they have been ‘up’ longer