Dear Mum, I tried a drug ... now I'm cutting my wrists
THE devastating effects of drug abuse is every parent's nightmare, but for a growing number in North East Lincolnshire it is a reality as more and more local youngsters are using – and becoming hooked on – lethal drug M-Cat.
The area's health and drug intervention professionals have reported a "recent and sustained" increase in the number of teenagers – some as young as 13 – using the illegal drug mephedrone, known as M-Cat – with potentially catastrophic affects.
Now, with the support of the Grimsby Telegraph, a campaign to highlight the dangers of the drug has been launched by the Young People's Support Services and other relevant agencies.
And, today, with her permission, we print the heartbreaking letter that a 15-year-old sent to her mum in desperation after her use of M-Cat for a "joke" turned into depression, self-harming and attempting suicide.
2 4 1 on all items on the steak and grill menu served monday to saturday
Monday - Saturday 12noon - 8pm
cheapest item credited for free
Management reserve the right to withdraw the offer at anytime.
not to be used in conjunction with anyother offer.
Contact: 01472 808799
Valid until: Saturday, June 15 2013
Mephedrone is an amphetamine and was made a Class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act last April, yet despite this the number of M-Cat referrals to North East Substance Team (Nest) has risen by 54 per cent in just two months.
An M-Cat high is similar to ecstasy but after the buzz wears off, the user is left feeling incredibly low and continued use can lead to them feelings of depression, anxiety, paranoia and self-harming.
The 15-year-old, whose identity is being withheld, used M-Cat for a year, but what started as a "harmless joke" led to her becoming dependent on it to make her feel normal and happy.
This led to her suffering from depression, self-harming and attempting suicide more than once.
In a heartbreaking letter to her mother, she wrote: "Last April I tried a drug called mephedrone (M-Cat).
"At first it was just a silly joke with some friends. But it quickly became more than a joke as I started doing it more. Then it became a problem, unnoticed by me, but clear to my friends.
"I have realised I need M-Cat to make me happy which explains why I get angry very easily and I am now also suffering with depression.
"I am inflicting pain on myself to feel a slight adrenaline rush that M-Cat gave me. I have been cutting my wrists to make me feel happy."
Sadly, this girl's harrowing experience is one of a growing number in our area.
Referrals to Accident and Emergency at Grimsby's Diana, Princess Of Wales Hospital has soared, as have the number of urgent referrals to the area's Children and Adolescent Mental Health Team. Since January, 20 M-Cat users were admitted for self-harming.
And professionals believe part of the problem is the lack of public knowledge about the new drug, which only exploded onto the streets a few years ago – and until last year was marketed as a harmless high that was available on the internet.
The manager of Nest, Dave Cole, said: "I have been working in this field for 20 years and I have never seen an explosion like it. It is all across the borough and into the villages. It is a national problem that has become local.
"People use this drug thinking it is safe but they have got no understanding until it goes too far.
"Some of these young people were people that you would never expect to see referred. We are working in most areas of the town with children from across different groups, backgrounds and ages.
"We want young people to be aware that this drug is not safe and it could cause them problems. We must take steps to address this."
Every day this week we will be highlighting the issues surrounding mephedrone – from the devastating impact it can have on physical and mental health to the criminal implications if you are caught in possession of it.