THE Government’s drugs advisers could recommend a ban on mephedrone within weeks, following the deaths of two teenagers thought to have taken the drug.

But it has emerged that the process of banning it could take many more months – leading to opposition criticism of the Government for not doing enough to tackle the threat from the “legal high” drug.

The Press has been campaigning since January for mephedrone to be made illegal, since a sixth-former at Woldgate College, Pocklington, collapsed after reportedly taking the drug as well as methadone and drinking.

Calls for a ban have now been backed by the father of one of the two youngsters who died in Scunthorpe. Tony Smith, father of Nicholas Smith, 19, said he thought his son took it because it was legal.

He said: “I assume that because it’s a legal drug he thought it was safe to take.

“I am convinced he took it because it was legal – why would anyone assume it could kill you?

“He would be alive if the ban was in place. There are lots and lots of young people taking this drug.”

Paul Tye, of the York Crime Reduction Initiative, who runs substance abuse programs for adults and young people, said the latest deaths vindicated The Press’s Menace of Mephedrone campaign, which he supports. He revealed he had been inundated with calls recently from parents worried that their sons and daughters might be taking mephedrone.

He said some phoned to say they had found items in their children’s bedrooms which fuelled their suspicions, which had been heightened by greater awareness of the problem.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs is likely to issue a report into a group of legal highs, including mephedrone, at the end of this month, and ministers could then indicate support for a ban in principle, but with further delays before it comes in.

Teachers’ leaders have called for a ban since the deaths of Nicholas and his friend Louis Wainwright, 18.

The Liberal Democrats said there had been “inordinate delays” in the ACMD’s research into the drug as a result of fall-out from the sacking of Professor David Nutt last year over statements claiming ecstasy and cocaine were less harmful than alcohol.