New drug plague hits Carrick
TEENAGERS are dicing with death by getting high on a legal drug known as Moonshine.
It is manufactured as a plant food – but police and health chiefs are increasingly worried about its use by youngsters looking for a quick fix.
Strathclyde Police in Ayrshire have confirmed that in recent weeks several youths have been admitted to hospital with drug-induced symptoms after taking the white powder.
Moonshine is a non-controlled powder sold loose and in capsules. It is thought to contain the chemical mephedrone – also known as 4-mmc and methadrone – a plant food not meant for human consumption. Moonshine has similar effects to some widely available herbal highs and aphrodisiacs.
When sold, Moonshine capsules are often contained in a small, re-sealable plastic bag, with a cannabis-leaf motif on it. The plastic bag is usually held inside a cardboard wrap, which is stapled to seal the capsule inside.
When sold in this way, the cardboard wrap sometimes describes the contents as plant food and not for human consumption.
But some teenagers are ignoring this advice and choosing to ingest the powder. Moonshine is often sold in adult stores, but never openly as a drug. It is usually marketed as a plant food or, in some cases, a bath salt.
Within 15 minutes of taking the substance, Moonshine users can experience breathlessness and dizziness. The effect is similar to that experienced while using MDMA or amphetamines, and can potentially cause users to become seriously ill.
Ayrshire Inspector Kevin Owens said: "A number of local teenagers have been admitted to hospital, having taken Moonshine.
"This is a concern among the police and local NHS staff, who are dealing directly with the effects of the drug.
"Should any youths come into possession of Moonshine, I would urge them to hand it in to the police. It is not illegal to sell Moonshine, but it is not a substance meant for human consumption.
"It is usually sold as a plant food or bath salt, but targets those seeking a legal 'high'. Like the product GBL/liquid ecstasy, Moonshine is being misused across Ayrshire and could seriously affect the health of users. Anyone offered either substance should decline the offer and report the circumstances to their local police."
Dr David Chung, clinical director of accident and emergency for the NHS in Ayrshire and Arran, said: "Young people need to know that Moonshine is totally unsafe and they are putting their lives at risk.
"Moonshine is a plant food. Don't think that just because a substance is legal it's safe, as Moonshine is most definitely not. It's safe for plants – but not for humans."
David Thomson, South Ayrshire Council's trading-standards and environmental health-service manager, confirmed the council was aware of Moonshine. He said: "We are looking into the product and investigations are ongoing. The sale of Moonshine has rightly been raised as a community-safety issue, and we will report our findings in due cour
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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