'Unknown white powder' risk for Lancashire drug users

First published in Preston Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

DRUG users in Lancashire are risking their health by snorting a host of unknown white powders – after the street drug mephedrone was banned.

Eighteen months ago mephedrone was named as a controlled substance by the Government – that same month Colne teenager Rebecca Cardwell became the first recorded fatality from the drug.

Researchers have quizzed dozens of young adults in the Burnley, Chorley, Preston and Lancaster areas over the drug usage, in the wake of mephedrone, known as ‘bubble’ or ‘miaow miaow’.

And it has emerged that many were unaware of the contents and health dangers associated with their wraps of ‘bubble’, a popular choice among East Lancashire’s drug abusers.

The study was carried out by Drs Fiona Measham and Karenza Moore, of Lancaster University.

One in 10 surveyed had taken mephedrone in the past year, and one in 20 during the previous month.

Dr Measham said: “Bubble has emerged and evolved as a generic term used in the north of England to refer to any unknown white powders which are synthetic stimulants.

These white powders are known by the generic term ‘bubble’ and because their exact content is unclear they could pose a greater risk to public health.”

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The researchers also discovered that Lancashire teenagers were taking ‘bubble’ alongside the likes of cocaine, amphetamines and ecstasy, dispelling theories that it served as a ‘gateway’ to other illegal substances.

Dr Moore said that the increasing popularity of ‘cheap and cheerful’ street drugs like ‘bubble’ and stimulant pills could reflect the financial pressures caused by the ongoing economic slowdown.

Comments (11)

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11:00am Wed 9 Nov 11

happycyclist says...

Who cares?
Who cares? happycyclist
  • Score: 0

11:14am Wed 9 Nov 11

BuckoTheMoose says...

The law of unintended consequences. Ban one relatively harmless drug and folk end up taking worse crap.
The law of unintended consequences. Ban one relatively harmless drug and folk end up taking worse crap. BuckoTheMoose
  • Score: 0

11:28am Wed 9 Nov 11

Keep Darwen Green says...

I thought plants were allowed to take mephedrone?
I thought plants were allowed to take mephedrone? Keep Darwen Green
  • Score: 0

12:48pm Wed 9 Nov 11

enuff_izanuff says...

Funny how there have been no deaths at all since it was made illegal.????..Anothe
r piece of knee-jerk reactionist policy making!! Make it illegal so that it then gets cut with god knows what and becomes twice as expensive, the war on drugs and consequent legislation has done nothing to kerb users or dealers whose numbers increase daily..in fact government drug policies do more to line the pockets of dealers than it do any good at all..WAKE UP !!
Funny how there have been no deaths at all since it was made illegal.????..Anothe r piece of knee-jerk reactionist policy making!! Make it illegal so that it then gets cut with god knows what and becomes twice as expensive, the war on drugs and consequent legislation has done nothing to kerb users or dealers whose numbers increase daily..in fact government drug policies do more to line the pockets of dealers than it do any good at all..WAKE UP !! enuff_izanuff
  • Score: 0

1:52pm Wed 9 Nov 11

HelmshoreBoy says...

Who gives a flying **** whether these imbeciles want to snort or stuff unknown substances up their hooters. Let em get on with it. They know the likely consequences. Tough!
Who gives a flying **** whether these imbeciles want to snort or stuff unknown substances up their hooters. Let em get on with it. They know the likely consequences. Tough! HelmshoreBoy
  • Score: 0

2:01pm Wed 9 Nov 11

everywhere is sh1t says...

if these losers what to risk there lives who cares it will be some less waste of life morons on the street
if these losers what to risk there lives who cares it will be some less waste of life morons on the street everywhere is sh1t
  • Score: 0

2:28pm Wed 9 Nov 11

s_smith says...

The quest for people to find and take psychoactive substances has been around since the dawn of time. Cannabis, mephedrone, amphetamines, cocaine, alcohol - all have an immense market and no amount of prohibition is going to stop it.
.
While it has been a long time since both I and Mrs Smith took anything of the sort, I certainly do not hold anything against those that do and indeed I am dismayed at the resources that are put in to policing the ineffective laws that govern such "misuse" of substances and the loss of potential tax revenues from such markets.
.
It is also worth remembering that Miss Cardwell had a massive amount of substances in her body, along with mephedrone and it was this large amount that killed her. If she had taken in that much in alcohol for instance, the result would have been much the same.
.
The mania and hype surrounding "drugs" would be a lot less of an issue were they to be legalised and be readily available through official channels. To put it another way, the effects of drugs are, in truth, a lot less harmful in both deaths and anti-social behaviour than the legal alternative - alcohol.
The quest for people to find and take psychoactive substances has been around since the dawn of time. Cannabis, mephedrone, amphetamines, cocaine, alcohol - all have an immense market and no amount of prohibition is going to stop it. . While it has been a long time since both I and Mrs Smith took anything of the sort, I certainly do not hold anything against those that do and indeed I am dismayed at the resources that are put in to policing the ineffective laws that govern such "misuse" of substances and the loss of potential tax revenues from such markets. . It is also worth remembering that Miss Cardwell had a massive amount of substances in her body, along with mephedrone and it was this large amount that killed her. If she had taken in that much in alcohol for instance, the result would have been much the same. . The mania and hype surrounding "drugs" would be a lot less of an issue were they to be legalised and be readily available through official channels. To put it another way, the effects of drugs are, in truth, a lot less harmful in both deaths and anti-social behaviour than the legal alternative - alcohol. s_smith
  • Score: 0

6:20pm Wed 9 Nov 11

akon says...

HelmshoreBoy.
Spot on !!
Hope there's tons of the "unknown white powder" & plenty of casualties !!
Rehab MY AR*S !!
HelmshoreBoy. Spot on !! Hope there's tons of the "unknown white powder" & plenty of casualties !! Rehab MY AR*S !! akon
  • Score: 0

9:37pm Wed 9 Nov 11

HelmshoreBoy says...

It could be the solution for getting rid of all that snow.

Just set a couple of dozen addicts hoovering it up with their noses. Soon free off the snow drifts. They say they'll snort anything white.

Save the councils a load in grit. Mind you they'll have a go at that too!
It could be the solution for getting rid of all that snow. Just set a couple of dozen addicts hoovering it up with their noses. Soon free off the snow drifts. They say they'll snort anything white. Save the councils a load in grit. Mind you they'll have a go at that too! HelmshoreBoy
  • Score: 0

1:47am Thu 10 Nov 11

Seneca says...

That's why there are more idiots wandering on the the motorway networks, it's the lure of the white lines.

What would legalising drugs do? It'll be taxed to high heaven and be sourced as present.
That's why there are more idiots wandering on the the motorway networks, it's the lure of the white lines. What would legalising drugs do? It'll be taxed to high heaven and be sourced as present. Seneca
  • Score: 0

6:23pm Thu 10 Nov 11

gudari says...

Risking their health by snorting "unknown white powders"? Sorry if I appear somewhat stupid but I thought they were risking their health by snorting crap in the first place!!
Risking their health by snorting "unknown white powders"? Sorry if I appear somewhat stupid but I thought they were risking their health by snorting crap in the first place!! gudari
  • Score: 0

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