TODAY, after ten weeks of campaigning, The Press will hand its petition to ban the danger drug mephedrone to 10 Downing Street.

Since we launched our Menance Of Mephedrone campaign in January, petition signatures and letters of support have poured into our Walmgate offices.

Today we will take our 700-signature petition and dossier to Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s London residence, along with an open letter (see below) on behalf of our readers and our community.

It is expected that later today, Mr Brown will be handed a report from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs which will recommend that the drug, also known as M-Cat or meow meow, be made a Class B substance.

We will be joined by John Grogan, Labour MP for Selby, and Robert Goodwill, Conservative MP for Scarbrough and Whitby.

We present the petition as evidence continues to be given to The Press about the danger drug.

One user, who doesn’t want to be named, said: “I have had a bad experience with mephedrone. I decided to try this legal high two months ago. It started on the Saturday and I could not stop until the Monday when I literally collapsed; I now think how lucky I am to be alive. I did not have to receive hospital treatment but I had almost all of the side affects I have read about.”

We launched our campaign following the collapse of a 17-year-old student at Woldgate College in Pocklington after he took the drug, an increasingly popular substitute for cocaine and ecstasy.

Rt Hon Gordon Brown
10 Downing Street

Dear Prime Minister,

In January this year a teenager from our area became seriously ill in school after taking the so-called legal high mephedrone.

The concern of his head teacher and the reaction of parents when we broke this news was so acute we felt that, as a community newspaper, we needed to act.

We were particularly worried that young people might feel the drug was safe because it was not illegal: yet it had not even been tested on animals. The risks associated with it were unfathomable, but people were being taken ill, and reports suggested it had been linked to deaths.

Our ‘Menace of Mephedrone’ campaign, launched in response to these concerns, aims to get the substance banned and to raise awareness of its potential dangers.

Hundreds of people have signed our petition and many people have come forward to tell us of their fears for loved ones whose lives are unravelling under the influence of this drug.

Sadly, we were too late for Lois Waters, the young woman whose death in our area a week ago came after taking mephedrone. It was also too late for Nick Smith and Louis Wainwright, of Lincolnshire, whose grieving parents have backed our campaign.

Today you are due to receive the findings of your experts into the dangers posed by this drug. We know you are minded to take action, and on behalf of our readers, we urge you to outlaw mephedrone.

Yours sincerely

Steve Hughes
Managing Editor
The Press, York