An ILLEGAL drug which has claimed the lives of two young Wiganers is NOT a major problem in the borough, say council chiefs.
A paper published by the Journal of Substance Use found that mephedrone has overtaken cocaine and ecstasy and become the most popular drug now used by the UK’s clubbers.
The drug, which is also known by the street names, “bubble” and “meow meow” was made illegal last April.
Wigan Council officials have issued a warning against the use of the drug, which claimed the lives of two young people in the borough last year, but they say it is not a huge problem in the borough.
Twenty-year-old Steph Howard, of Findlay Street, Leigh died of multiple organ failure after taking mephedrone last February.
And in an unrelated case, Gareth Naylor, also 20 and from Swinley, was found hanged in his flat after using the substance last year. Both had taken mephedrone when it was still classed as a “legal high” – before the Government intervened to put it on the list of banned Class B substances.
Wigan Council’s Head of Safer Cleaner, Greener Neighbourhoods, Sally Wolstencroft said: “Mephedrone is relatively new to the illegal substances list and there is no evidence to indicate a big problem with the drug in the borough.
“Only a very small number of clients present to our drug and alcohol services with a mephedrone problem but we are alert to the risks and actively monitor changes in trends.
“We would advise people against using mephedrone because it is against the law and because of the risks involved.
“The exact effects this drug has on the body are still emerging but there is growing evidence of links with anxiety and paranoia.
“Raising awareness of the negative effects of any drug hopefully deters people from using it and we currently point people in the direction of the FRANK website and helpline, 0800 776600 as well as our own 24-hour advice line, 0800 3894463.”