THE Press campaign for the “legal high” drug mephedrone to be banned could succeed as soon as next month.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson has revealed the advisory council on the misuse of drugs expects to make a decision by early March on outlawing mephedrone and related drugs.

He said the topic was an “absolute priority” for the council, and it was moving as quickly as it could, trying to ensure it dealt not only with mephedrone, but the whole generic group of drugs.

He said: “We will receive its advice and guidance before we take action.”

The Minister spoke out in the Commons after being quizzed by MPs, including Scarborough & Whitby Tory Robert Goodwill.

The MP spoke of his concern that the “purveyors of pernicious preparations” could often be one step ahead of the authorities, either by reformulating the molecules slightly or by marketing them as, for example, plant food.

Mr Johnson said this problem illustrated why it was so important to get a generic classification, so whole areas could be covered and drug manufacturers could not “shift around”.

He said: “We can actually make illegal a whole range and classification of those drugs.”

The Press launched its campaign for the drug, commonly known as bubbles, meow meow or M-CAT, to be made illegal last month when a 17-year-old boy at Woldgate College, in Pocklington, collapsed and had to be rushed to hospital after taking it.

Since then we have collected more than 200 signatures backing our campaign.

Police also revealed a young man who had taken the drug in York had collapsed and stopped breathing before being revived by paramedics. Our investigation has revealed a surge in the number of users needing emergency hospital treatment.

Mr Goodwill said today he “applauded” the Press campaign, which he said had helped highlight the issue, helping to persuade the Government to take action and also raising awareness among parents.

The drug can cost as little as £3 a dose, and has become increasingly popular among young people in North and East Yorkshire. It is commonly found in plant food and is perfectly legal.