A POLICE drive launched to tackle the increased number of reported cases of “Meow Meow” use in Worthing has resulted in seven arrests.
The reported uses of the class B drug, properly known as mephedrone, shot up from one in 2011 to 17 in 2012, prompting police to renew their efforts in tackling the drug.
This led police to hold an educational drive, earlier this month, with Worthing street pastors and Worthing-based alcohol and drug addiction support group Addaction.
Since the drive, on August 10 and 11, seven people have been arrested for drug possession with intent to supply, with one person being caught with 59 rocks of crack cocaine and a further stash of 69 rocks.
PCSO Kevin Brown, who is in charge of the initiative, said: “Those arrests were the result of community intelligence. People informed us and we were able to investigate and make the arrests. “We’re being educational, but if we find people with this drug, or any other drug, they’ll be in trouble.
“We want people to be safe. There’s lots to do in Worthing that doesn’t involve drugs.”
PCSO Brown said the drug proved most popular with 17 to 25-year-olds because it was a cheap stimulant.
But he said there were “serious medical risks” associated with the drug.
There have been cases in Worthing of people being taken to hospital to be treated for mephedrone’s side-effects, which can include paranoia, hallucinations, quickened heart rate and nose bleeds.
PCSO Brown added: “It’s not like a microwave lasagne. People buying it can’t be sure they know they’re getting mephedrone.
“And even if they are, the risks are serious.
“This is really a reminder to young people that you do not know what you are getting when you buy mystery substances from strangers, acquaintances or friends.”
Meow Meow featured in the media two years ago as a legal high, prior to it being reclassified as a class B drug.
People can contact police directly on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 55 111.