TWO of the UK’S top drug experts have driven home the dangers of a legal high which The Press is fighting to ban from our streets.

The man at the helm of the organisation which keeps the Government updated on drug abuse issues said it is now focusing its attention on mephedrone as it aims to assess the scale of the threat it poses.

And a leading psychiatrist said “lots of questions” remained unanswered about the potential harm of mephedrone, which is also known as MCAT and Meow Meow and is popular with clubbers.

Last month, The Press launched a campaign to ban the drug, which is legal providing it is sold as plant food and not for human consumption, and is sold on the internet for £10 a gram.

Prof Les Iversen, chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) said: “The ACMD is concerned about the diversity, prevalence and potential harms of substances that constitute ‘legal highs’ and has already delivered advice to the Government on GBL, BZP and synthetic cannabinoids, which have been found in products marketed as SPICE.

“We are now looking at the dangers of mephedrone, and the related cathinone compounds, as a priority and will report back to government as soon as possible.

“It is important to understand that just because a substance is legal, it doesn’t mean it’s safe to consume. Under medicines legislation most of these legal highs are illegal to sell, supply, or advertise for human consumption.”

Dr Ken Checinski, of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said he began research on “legal highs” such as mephedrone in 2007.

“Mephedrone was one of many drugs that I looked at in terms of the availability of it, how easy it was to get and the effects of it. Others since then, such as SPICE, have been made illegal.

“I have looked at the effects of the drug and in my knowledge it draws strong similarities to amphetamines, and is most like MDMA, which is ecstasy. It is a new drug and what we do know is that it carries risk, what we do not know is just how dangerous it is. But what is clear is we have lots of questions about this drug.

“I support the ACMD, which has accelerated its work plan to raise awareness of this drug, which is what I think we should be doing.”

• Are you worried about the increasing availability of “legal highs” such as mephedrone? Have you or your family been affected?

Phone Jennifer Bell at The Press on 01904 653051 ext 315 or email