Amid all the talk about what to do about this particular nasty drug-no one in politics or the media is addressing the fundamental question. How did the UK get to have this terrible drug using culture? Did influential legalisation and liberalisation drug lobbyists adversely affect the drug use culture? Was “media advocacy” a big factor? Where some pro liberalisation/legalisation Members of Parliament (in all political parties) guilty of proselytising without working out the inevitable consequences? Are those members of the “great & (supposedly ) good” , (even some members of the Police & Judiciary), who advocated drug legalisation/liberalisation, also guilty parties? It has been said nations get the drug problem they deserve. We certainly deserve ours. It is surely time for some honesty a rethink and some more competent political leadership.
David Raynes National Drug Prevention Alliance
Desperate father pleads for action as legal party drug destroys his teenage son An accountant has made a dramatic nationwide plea for help to stop his son killing himself with the new party drug known as Miaow Miaow.
Stephen Welch, rang BBC Radio 4’s Today programme in desperation because he did not know how to stop his son Daniel’s addiction to mephedrone and his appeals for specialist support had been rejected.
The 58-year-old spelt out the reality of life with a teenager who is destroying his health with a legal substance.
And he revealed that the drug can be bought freely over the phone on an 0800 number “like a Chinese takeaway” and delivered in 15 minutes at a cost of less than £1 a hit. He also revealed that many of his son’s friends in the affluent, medieval market town of Saffron Walden, were also dependent on mephedrone and experiencing physical and mental problems as a result.
Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Welch, a self-employed accountant, described how last week, Daniel collapsed in front of him after a heavy weekend taking the killer drug. “He had heart pains, his blood pressure was all over the place, his body went numb,” said Mr Welch. “Then he went into a bout of intense depression and suicidal tendencies. We were very, very scared. “We thought that maybe we were going to loose him. It was a terrifying situation.”
The close-knit Welch family is desperate for help but have been told by mental health experts that their son’s drug taking is a “lifestyle choice” which they can do little about. “The said they were not able to offer us any assistance, apart from saying, if necessary, take him to accident and emergency,” said Mr Welch, 58. “There has been an offer of acupuncture sessions but no mention of rehabilitation or even counselling.”
Evidence is growing of a mephedrone epidemic among young people across the social range. A survey published yesterday revealed that more than one in 13 students who attend Cambridge University have tried the drug.
Last week, it was linked to the deaths of Louis Wainwright, 18, and Nicholas Smith, 19, in Scunthorpe. Police have also confirmed that a partygoer’s death from a heart attack in February was caused by mephedrone poisoning. Despite escalating fears, the Government has taken no action to ban the drug. The substance is actively marketed on dozens of websites as plant food, with the companies and individuals who sell it making millions of pounds unhindered by the authorities.
“It is like ordering a Chinese takeaway but it comes quicker and is cheaper,” said Mr Welch. “The teenagers ring the 0800 number and it is delivered in little packets that say ‘plant food, not for human consumption’. “Four grams costs £35 and is enough to give two hits to 20 people, that is under £1 a hit. Four grams of cocaine costs about £200.
“All of his friends are taking it, including some who wouldn’t have touched any drugs before but take this one because it is legal. “They are all having the same problems. They are all, within a very short space of time, becoming dependant on it.”
Before discovering the drug, Daniel had completed his GCSEs at a private Quaker school and was studying a vocational course at a college near Norwich. But the effects of his habit have left the teenager muddled, depressed and unable to work. While he has tried other drugs and has used cannabis regularly, the high he experienced with mephedrone was in a different league. Mr Welch, whose three other children have never had drugs issues, said the availability of the drug made it so much harder to protect Daniel and break his dependency.
“It needs to be banned, if only to make it more difficult to get hold of,” he said. “I’m not naive enough to think it will not still be there. It will go underground but it will become more expensive and it will put some children off taking it if it is illegal. “It is no good the Government saying ‘we need to wait for this committee or that report’. People are dying from this substance.
“We have had a terrifying experience with our own son. People are making a fortune out of supplying this stuff and it is causing absolute havoc with our children.” Meanwhile, until the Government acts, the Welch family try to cope with the day-to-day consequences of Daniel’s addiction.
“My wife is affected the most as she is at home most. It is emotionally just draining,” said Mr Welch. “We are absolutely distraught by this.
“The possibilities are too horrendous to think about – those two poor boys in Scunthorpe who died. My son said ‘I looked at their pictures and they looked like normal kids’. I said to him ‘Daniel, you look like a normal kid’.
“He has been very frightened by what has happened this week. We can only support him and hope that he is coming around to realising what a lethal substance this is.” Daniel said that the public and Government officials did not realise how bad the situation had become with mephedrone. “I want to get across the massive effect it has had on my life and on the lives of people similar to me,” said the teenager.
“Something needs to happen. People are doing the drug who would never think of doing illegal drugs. It is affecting normal people. “It is so readily available, a phone call away. And it is so cheap that someone always has it. You can swap a cigarette for a line. And that makes it hard to break away from it.
“I’ve got a lot of big decisions to make now about who I see and who I don’t. The problem is these are normal friends, people at university.
“But if I carry on in the way I have been I could be dead in three months. I’m losing weight, I’m not the person I was.”
Source: www.telegraph.co.uk/health 21st March 2010