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The real Government stance on Mephedrone

Posted by Snafu on April 22, 2010 at 9:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Given all the recent hoo-ha about mephedron, I decided to write to the Home Office and ask for the underlying information behind the Government's hasty decision to classify mephedrone without any real scientific evidence of its toxicity or pharmacology.  Here's the response I got:

                                           

"   April2010

 

 

 

Dear Mr Herbert,

 

Thank you for your e-mail of 1 April to the Home Office about the drugmephedrone.  Your e-mail has beenpassed to the Direct Communications unit and I have been asked to reply. 

 

On 29 March, the Home Secretary received advice from the AdvisoryCouncil on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) on the control of cathinones and theirderivatives, including mephedrone. The ACMD is the independent expert bodywhich advises the Government on drug issues and its report on cathinones can befound at http://drugs.homeoffice.gov.uk/drugs-laws/acmd/.

 

The ACMD advised that mephedrone and other cathinone derivatives areharmful and dangerous drugs with similar effects to amphetamine, to which theyare closely related. These harms include anxiety and paranoid states,over-stimulation of the cardiovascular system, with risk of heart andcirculatory problems; and over-stimulation of the nervous system, with risk offits and agitated and paranoid states and hallucinations, as well as the riskof dependency.

 

The Home Secretary accepted the ACMD’s recommendation that mephedroneand other cathinone derivatives should be brought under the control of theMisuse of Drugs Act 1971 as Class B drugs.

 

The Government took a series of immediate actions. Firstly, to limit thesupply of mephedrone, other cathinone derivatives and all products containingthese drugs, the Government banned their importation and instructed UK BorderAgency officials to seize and destroy shipments of mephedrone at theborder.  The Home Secretary alsowrote to local authorities urging them to use powers under consumer protectionlegislation to seize mephedrone. Police forces and other agencies contacted‘head shops’ and other premises warning them of the ban and making it clearthat enforcement action will follow.

 

The Parliamentary process to control mephedrone and other cathinonederivatives was started immediately and, with Parliament’s agreement, thesedrugs have been banned with effect from 16 April. By enshrining in law ageneric definition, the Government has encompassed a wide range of cathinonederivatives which is, as far as we are aware, a world-first for this group ofdrugs. This approach provides the strongest controls on cathinone derivativesand aims to stop organised criminals and dealers from tweaking substances tocircumvent our drug laws.

 

Legislative control is, of course, only part of the solution. Educationis of paramount importance. In respect of its health messages, the Government’sdrugs information service, FRANK, provides information on cathinones, includingmephedrone, with clear information about the risks of these substances. The FRANKhelpline advisers are fully equipped to deal with queries relating tocathinones and inform people about their risks to health.

 

The Government’s ‘Crazy Chemist’ information campaign, which ran in late2009, included warnings about mephedrone and targeted young people both onwebsites and when they are searching to purchase ‘legal highs’. The campaignhighlighted the potential danger of taking ‘legal highs’ particularly when theyare mixed with alcohol. It made clear that just because a drug is legal doesnot mean that it is safe. In addition, the Government has produced a dedicatedfact card and updated leaflets on mephedrone for young people and parents,including leaflets providing advice on mephedrone via the National Union ofStudents.

 

The schools Minister, Vernon Coaker, has also written to all headteachers, providing guidance for dealing with mephedrone in schools. Mephedroneand ‘legal highs’ will also be included in the new Drugs Guidance for schools.Also, the Department of Health has issued a formal health alert through thepublic health warning system to ensure that all frontline hospital staff,medical staff and drug treatment staff have the most up-to-date informationabout the harms of mephedrone.

 

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

M Ahmed-Ali

Direct Communications Unit"


As you can see it doesn't really answer the question of "why and on what grounds" except by parrellels with amphetamine.  The linked report from the ACMD makes quite interesting reading though.  Some choice paragraphs:


 

"3.17. Little data are available on either the pharmacokinetics or

pharmacodynamics of the cathinones. Research on the metabolism of the

ring-substituted cathinones bk-MBDB and bk-MDEA has implicated N-

dealkylation, demethylenation followed by O-methylation and β-keto

reduction as major metabolic pathways (Zaitsu et al., 2009).  "


 

Acute toxicity  

5.1. Most data regarding the harms of the cathinones (mephedrone in

particular) are self-reported and there are very few clinical data available.  "


 

 

5.3. Data from Guys and St Thomas’ hospital toxicology (Dargan and

Wood, pers. comm.) over the last year show that from a total of 1600-1800

cases, of which 40% are due to recreational drugs, 25 of which presented

with toxicity due to self reported mephedrone use"   That's  only 25 people in 1 year who went to hospital because of mephedrone.  Of those 25,


 

"Four (16%) required benzodiazepines for management of agitation

• Twenty (80%) discharged from ED/observation ward

• Five admitted to hospital  

• Four to general medical ward

• One to ICU (for other drug toxicity: GBL)"  


Let's recap that:  in 1 year, 25 people turned up at hospital after taking methedrone; twenty were sent home (4 on some downers); 5 were admitted with the only serious case due to taking other drugs as well.  Doesn't really sound that bad does it?


 

Cases of death where cathinones have been implicated13

5.12. There have been at least 18 deaths in England where cathinones have

been implicated.

• The presence of mephedrone in post mortem toxicology does not

necessarily imply that it caused or contributed to a death.  "


 

"There are indications that criminal groups are becoming involved in

the supply of mephedrone to the public in the UK (SOCA, 2010). At

present the mephedrone retail trade operates mainly through internet

importation and distribution and ‘head shops’."   - not any more thanks to the Government making it illegal.   It's all in the hands of the criminal groups now.


 

"7.3. Irrespective of whether controls for the cathinones are implemented

under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, the rapidity and easy availability of

mephedrone and other cathinones (including websites set up so that

vendors that can deliver to individual addresses) does raise the question

of whether other legislation and regulation should be available. "  - Interesting.   What form might this "other" legislation have taken.   Conveniently overlooked by the Government.


"8.3. Other than the above there is presently a limited amount of public health

information regarding mephedrone and the cathinones. Although recent

media profile has presented much apparent public health information it is

not always credible or consistent.  "  - But we're going to ban it anyway.

 

 

I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions but, for me it seems a rash and hasty decision based on no real solid evidence and one that is merely giving the crooks a whole new line of business.

 


 

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


Musings and ramblings

Posted by Snafu on February 17, 2010 at 9:13 PM Comments comments (1)

Well, it' been a while since and I thought I'd better brsh out some of the old cobwebs and tidy things up a bit.   New year, new look and all that.  I've been thinking more and more of trying to get back into DJing but loaction is a little against me.   Folks just aren't that into trance up here besides, there's nowhere to have a party anyway.   Still, I've got my new USB mixer and will be putting more of my music on the laptop so with a bit of luck I can get a mix recorded fairly soon to send to some folks and see where that gets me.   Surley they can't all have forgotten Snafu already ;P

Is the Pope Catholic?

Posted by Snafu on June 24, 2007 at 1:08 AM Comments comments (0)
I made a rather surprising dicovery today. ?? I learnt that there are, in fact, not one Pope but TWO! ???? That's right, there are 2 Popes. ?? How can this be? ???? Surely this just highlights the ridiculousness inherent in the catholic Church.

One of these Popes, Joseph Ratzinger/BenedictXVI,?? does indeed live in the Vatican. ?? He's the one you probably all know about.

The other Pope, or Earl Pulvermacher as his parents named him, has no given address although there is a Post Office box number you can reach him at if you really need to send some money.???? It's in Springdale, WA. (isn't that where Bart Simpson lives? - Oh, no that's Springfield).???? I digress

The whole reason why I came across this astounding piece of knowledge was because I decided to write a letter to the Pope.???? I wanted to know the correct form of address to use when writing to the Pontiff but now it turns out I'm going to have to write 2 letters.

I figured as seeing as the Pope is the head of the catholic Church then he would be fairly strongly in favour of doing his bit to help the human race.???? So, I've decided to write a letter explaining, reasonably, where there is no need for people to have faith in God.???? Hopefully, he'll take a lead from Jesus and sacrifice himself, well the Church, to save the human race.???? Give all the Church gold to the poor and needy, use all the land they own to build schools on to give children a balanced education or hospitals for the sick or homes for the homeless.

So, I'm going to write those letters.???? I'll keep you informed.

Back to the digression - here's the reasons why there are 2 Popes: http://www.truecatholic.org/heresiesb16.htm
I'm really concerned for the people of Springdale, all 283 of them(according to the 2000 census), although I do wonder if the close proximity of Loon Lake is more than just a coincidence.

The first of many

Posted by Snafu on June 4, 2007 at 2:38 PM Comments comments (1)


Well, I think it's about time I started one of these and my recent reading about religion and education (http://www.secularism.org.uk/britainisbeingreligionisedbystea.html" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.secularism.org.uk/britainisbeingreligionisedbystea.html) has spurred me into action.   The time has come for me to stand up and take action for what I believe in so that, at the very the very least, I can say I tried to make a difference.

I intend to do everything I can to challenge the special status that religion seems to have in our society today and, indeed, the very idea of religion itself.

I want to help people to try to understand that life can be lived without fear of repercussion from some supernatural entity and that all people can construct their own moral code based on experience and logical thought and that unless we can all learn to live together then our future is pretty bleak.

Check this out: http://www.secularism.org.uk/monumenttostupidityopensinusa.html

I'd love to go there!    Think of the fun you could have!  Seriously, this is from the guy who founded this website:
http://www.answersingenesis.org/

So now you can all stop wondering about all the beauty and intricacies of the universe and just read the bible and you'll know everything.  

Right?

Anyway, while not quite on the same scale yet, there exists  a growing concern  in the UK about how we should educate our children religiously. As the founder of the Focus on the Family website, Dr. James Dobson says,
"Those who control what young people are taught, and     what they experience - what they see, hear, think and believe - will determine the future..."
 and I admire him for his educational views but not, sadly, his religious ones.

So it comes down to this:  do we allow religion and faith-based organisations to take over the education of our children to indoctrinate them at an early age into a blinkered and divisive view of the world or;  do we teach our children to have the ability to think for themselves and maybe make the world a better place?

Well, this has been a pretty intense first blog but that's where I'm at at the moment and, if you're interested, I'll keep you up to date on my progress.

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