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Drug users turn to 'meow meow' -

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Drug users turn to 'meow meow'

Broadcast: 15/10/2010

Reporter: Rebecca Barrett

A survey shows that drug users are turning away from ecstasy due to a drop in quality, and are
instead using a drug known as 'meow meow'.

Transcript

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Drug users are turning away from ecstasy due to a drop in quality and
switching to cocaine and a synthetic party drug called meow meow. A national drug survey says that
mephedrone, also known as MCAT, is linked to a number of deaths overseas but there's not a lot
known about it.

For the first time its use has shown up in significant quantities here, raising concerns that
police and paramedics aren't equipped to manage it.

Rebecca Barrett reports.

REBECCA BARRETT, REPORTER: Once the party drug of choice, the popularity of ecstasy is on the slide
as it becomes harder to get and less pure.

PAUL DIETZE, ECSTASY AND RELATED DRUGS REPORTING SYSTEM: They are wanting to get bang for their
buck and so as a consequence they will turn to alternatives when the purity of the pills is so
poor.

REBECCA BARRETT: More effective policing is being credited for the ecstasy drought.

LUCY BURNS, ECSTASY AND RELATED DRUGS REPORTING SYSTEM: It may be that we're actually seizing more
labs; we're stopping precursors coming in.

REBECCA BARRETT: A national drug reporting system that surveys ecstasy users every year has found
their cocaine use has doubled in the past seven years. Another cheaper alternative is a synthetic
chemical called mephedrone, also known as MCAT, or meow meow. The drug is prohibited in Australia
and has only been banned in the UK since April after it was implicated in a number of deaths.

For the first time, mephedrone has emerged in significant numbers in Victoria and Tasmania, and
experts are worried.

PAUL DIETZE: We need to be up-skilling the people who these people come into contact with. Straight
out stimulants have all sort of properties attached to them and people need to be properly skilled
in managing situations where they might come across these people.

REBECCA BARRETT: It's a new challenge too for law enforcement officers.

AUSTRALIAN CRIME COMMISSIONER: We don't understand the market to the extent that we probably should
do, and that's just because it is dynamic and changing so much.

REBECCA BARRETT: With mephedrone easy to access, authorities are appealing to users to simply not
buy it, warning of significant health risks.