Mephedrone deaths: teachers have to hand drug back after confiscating it in lessons Teachers who confiscate mephedrone from children as young as eight have to hand the drug back at the end of the school day because it remains legal, it has emerged

 By Heidi Blake
Published: 3:47PM GMT 17 Mar 2010

Leading head teachers have called for a ban on the dangerous substance – known as “miaow miaow” – which they say is in widespread use among children in primary and secondary schools.

Lord Mandelson has promised that the issue will be examined „very speedily, very carefully.”

The Home Office’s scientific advisory panel are due to report on the drug on March 29.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs said it had discussed Meohedrone with Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, who had expressed „grave concern”.

Mike Stewart, head of Westland School in Torquay, said his teachers found themselves in the absurd position of having to hand back stashes of the stimulant which they have seized during lessons.

“Both my colleagues in school and the police are pretty powerless to do anything about it. Obviously items can be confiscated but, because this is still legal, it would have to be given back at the end of the day, and that’s disturbing,” he said.

“It is a widely available unrestricted drug. It has significant harmful effects on the behaviour of young people and probably their future lives.

“Death is the extreme but psychosis and uncontrollable behaviour and illness are part of the side effects.”

Louis Wainwright and Nicholas Smith, both 19, died on Monday after taking the legal stimulant, which is sold as plant food, with friends. The tragedy took the number of deaths in Britain linked to mephedrone to four.

It emerged last week that since December 180 pupils had skipped classes after taking the substance at a secondary school in north-west Leicestershire.

More than two pupils were playing truant every day after taking “miaow miaow” at the unnamed school and children as young as eight were known to be taking the drug, a police spokesman said.

Mick Brookes, general secretary of the National Association of Head teachers, raised fears that growing numbers of primary schoolchildren are using mephedrone.

“There is widespread concern not just among secondary members of our council but also primary that this drug is now widely available and is being taken by children as young as nine,” he said.

„This drug clearly has the same inherent dangers as any Class A drug and I think serious consideration should be given to banning it.”

Schoolchildren confirmed that the drug was growing in popularity. One teenager said: “It’s quite popular with schoolkids – it’s easy to get and it’s quite cheap. Some of my friends do get quite bad, like hearing voices. I’ve heard stories that other kids sell it from different schools to make a bit of money.”