'I feared he was going to die': Mum of former M-Cat user to warn East Yorkshire schoolchildren of danger
TEENAGERS as young as 13 have been caught taking an illegal drug, with some stealing off their families to fund their addiction.
One policeman told the Mail he has had several experiences of teenagers stealing from their parents to pay for the Class B drug mephedrone, known as M-Cat.
The mother of one teenager who used to take the drug, who does not wish to be named, is to share her ordeal with young people to warn them of the dangers of the illegal high.
"I think it is an issue right across the board in East Yorkshire," said the 46-year-old mum.
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"It is so widespread that I don't think it would take much imagination to find a dealer.
"The problem is the drug is so accessible and very cheap."
The drug is a powerful stimulant and is part of the cathinone family, which is closely related to amphetamines, methamphetamine and ecstasy.
Although there is little evidence about what long-term effects the drug has, there have been reports of people hospitalised due to the short-term effects.
The mother, whose son is 16, is calling for greater education in schools.
She said: "Being legal in the past, people think it's harmless, but, psychologically, it is as addictive as the harder drugs.
"Users of M-Cat can behave the same way as a heroin addict, selling things or being dishonest.
"People know it is illegal, but they don't know how harmful it is.
"There needs to be more education and the issues need to be out in the open. Schools have got to help deal with the problem."
The main effects of M-Cat include everything from feelings of euphoria to anxiety and paranoia. It can also lead to the heart and nervous system being overstimulated.
The mother questioned her 16-year-old son when she saw leaflets on drug advice.
She said: "I was absolutely devastated when he told me.
"First thing I was thinking was that he was going to die.
"You have to take control. It is tough love.
"I got in touch with all the external agencies, police, school and all his friends' parents to let them know what had happened.
"He said he had been using it for a couple of weeks.
"At the end of the day, the parents wanted to hear what had happened. No one wants to lose their child via drugs.
"M-Cat would probably lose its effect after a while and the users would move onto heavier stuff.
"I want to keep an eye out for the kids and highlight the widespread problem. You never know it might help save a life."
Possession of M-Cat is illegal and can be punished by up to five years in jail and an unlimited fine. Supplying someone else can get up to 14 years in jail and an unlimited fine.