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Saturday, 19 April 2014

Cumbria clubbers risk their lives with designer drugs

CLUBBERS dice with death every time they take designer drugs like the substance which led to the death of Barrow dad Dale Burns, an expert has warned.

By Giles Brown

On Thursday, an inquest for Mr Burns, 27, found the drug MDPV had triggered his fatal cardiac arrest in August 2011.

Although MDPV was classified as an illegal class B drug in 2010, expert Dr Haitham Nadeem said similar amphetamine-like drugs were now available legally.

He said MDPV and mephedrone, which are chemically very similar, were popular drugs for people going clubbing.

They are named designer drugs because they are made with the intention of producing a chemical compound that slips through legal loopholes.

“Every week we have these new things that are manufactured somewhere and they just call them something different,” said Dr Nadeem, who works for Unity, which manages the Drug and Alcohol Recovery Team for Cumbria County Council.

He said the risks of taking the drugs were increased when people mixed them with alcohol.

Dr Nadeem said: “They suffer from overheating basically and become dehydrated and their system shuts down.”

These effects have proved fatal on a number of occasions, with six people in the UK dying from taking mephedrone in 2010, he said.

The Evening Mail found a number of substances for sale in Barrow, with a variety of names.

One of those available at a shop in the town centre was named Gogaine, which is labelled as a “research chemical”, and made from the chemical MPA, which is similar in structure to methamphetamine.

South Cumbria superintendent Mark Pannone said people selling such substances were being “incredibly irresponsible”.

“Our community really needs to take notice of this,” he said.

“The harm it can cause to you and your family is enormous. You’ve got chemists who are changing the chemical compounds very slightly so the law doesn’t cover them.

“You don’t know what you are taking.”

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