Page last updated at 13:16 GMT, Friday, 18 December 2009

Parents warned over 'legal high'

The drug can cause severe side effects

A warning has been issued in the Isle of Man over a "legal high" which has become popular among teenagers.

Mephedrone, a plant fertiliser and often referred to as "plant food", can be bought over the internet.

Bill Malarkey MHK, political member with responsibility for the chief minister's drug and alcohol strategy, has written to parents.

He said some teenagers have been taken ill after using the drug and school visits are being carried out.

Last week a 21-year-old man from Ramsey was in court after taking mephedrone and driving.

He admitted driving while unfit through drugs, driving without a licence, driving without insurance and without consent of the car's owner.

Behavioural changes

Mr Malarkey described the trend as "worrying" and said the Manx government was looking at the ways to stop the fertiliser being sold.

He said young people in secondary schools were to be spoken to about the dangers of the chemical and he urged parents to speak to their children about it.

"They [the drugs] are not illegal, but that does not mean they are safe," Mr Malarkey said.

"They are known to cause serious medical side effects and behavioural changes and could be fatal.

"Some are even labelled 'Not for Human Consumption' but this does not seem to discourage people from taking them."

Mephedrone, a white powder, is also known as "bubble" and is sold legally as a plant fertiliser.

Regular use can result in severe nosebleeds, nose burns, hallucinations, blood circulation problems, rashes, anxiety and paranoia, fits and delusions.

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