EU bans party drug
Brussels - The European Union on Friday banned suspected killer drug mephedrone, a popular ecstasy-like party drug sometimes known as "meow meow" that is sold on the internet and available in 12 EU nations.
Mephedrone, already illegal in 15 EU nations, has been linked to 37 deaths in Britain and Ireland alone and appears to be the sole cause of two deaths in the EU.
"It is good to see that EU governments are prepared to take swift action to ban this dangerous drug," said EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding after the 27-nation bloc agreed the ban.
"This drug is sold over the internet, often behind innocent names like plant food or bath salts. Young people should not be fooled. These drugs are harmful."
The decision bans the manufacturing and the marketing of mephedrone, submitting it to criminal sanctions all over Europe.
Sold in powder form, capsules or tablets by street dealers, or over the web posing as salts or plant fertiliser, its effects are comparable to ecstasy or cocaine - but at only 10 to €15 a gram.
Also known as "bubble" or "neodove", it has been banned in Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Romania and Sweden.
A scientific risk assessment carried out by the Lisbon-based European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) showed that mephedrone can cause acute health problems and lead to dependency.
It has no established medical value or other known legitimate purpose.