The controversial ‘legal high’ mephedrone, also known as miaow-miaow, is to be banned from the end of this week.
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Mephedrone, which has been linked to a number of deaths in the UK in recent months, is currently legal and often sold as ‘plant food’.
But following advice from the Government’s drugs advisory body, Parliament passed legislation to ban the drug.
And the Home Office has now confirmed that mephedrone will be illegal from 16 April.
The drug will be placed in the class B category, along with cannabis and amphetamines.
A prison sentence of five years and/or an unlimited fine will be the penalties for possession of mephedrone.
Police in Lincolnshire have called on users and dealers of the drug to hand in any they have before it is outlawed.
Lincolnshire Police’s intelligence manager, Simon Lovett, said tough action would be taken when the drug is banned, but as it has been legal, he said users “should have the opportunity to hand it over without being immediately criminalised”.
Mephedrone is a white or yellowish powder which can be snorted or taken in the form of pills and capsules.
Last month Gordon Brown committed himself to taking “immediate action” on mephedrone if his advisers did recommend outlawing it.
Speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions Mr Brown said: “We are very concerned specifically about the harms of mephedrone, and the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs is considering this and similar compounds as an absolute priority.”
He added: “We have determined to act to prevent this evil hurting the young people of this country.”
Before a decision was announced the chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) indicated that the drug should be banned. He compared the drug to amphetamines.
And at the end of last month the ACMD did indeed recommend that the Government put the drug in the class B category.