Commission Calls for EU-Wide Ban on Ecstasy-Like Drug Mephedrone

4-methylmethcathinone, better known as Mephedrone

The European Commission called for a dangerous ecstasy-like drug that is still legal in 12 EU countries to be banned. It asked the EU Member States to stop the free spread of the drug “mephedrone” across Europe by submitting it to control measures. Mephedrone is already illegal in 15 EU countries. It has been linked to at least 37 deaths in the UK and Ireland alone.

Two fatalities have been reported in the EU in which mephedrone appears to be the sole cause of death. There are at least another 37 deaths in the UK and Ireland alone in which mephedrone has been detected in post-mortem samples. Based on these figures, the Commission’s proposal would ban the manufacturing and the marketing of mephedrone, submitting it to criminal sanctions all over Europe.

EU governments must now decide on whether to put these measures into force, voting by a qualified majority in the Council.

Mephedrone is a stimulant whose physical effects are comparable to those produced by ecstasy (MDMA) or cocaine. It is mostly sold as powder, but also as capsules or tablets, on the internet, from “head shops” and from street-level dealers.

A scientific risk assessment carried out by the Lisbon-based European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) showed that mephedrone can cause acute health problems and lead to dependency, while a few fatalities related to its use have been reported across Europe.

Mephedrone has no established medical value or other known legitimate purpose. It is a controlled substance in 15 EU countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Romania, Sweden and the UK.

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