A SENIOR police officer says people have been found on the streets of Wrexham with the potentially fatal designer drug mephedrone.

Now police have teamed up with the local council and health board to ensure potential users are made starkly aware of the dangers of the substance – also known as M-cat or miaow miaow – which although not yet illegal has been linked to the death of several people across the UK.

Insp Alex Goss, who is in charge of policing central Wrexham, said: “One Friday and Saturday night last month we found people in possession of m-cat on the streets of the town centre.

“Although it is not illegal we need to get across the message to people that it is harmful and also potentially lethal as we have seen from tragic cases elsewhere.

“My officers found the drug in possession of females rather than males and it was voluntarily confiscated.”

Insp Goss added: “There have been deaths linked to the use of mephedrone and we don’t want that sort of thing happening on the streets of Wrexham.

"That is why we are working in close co-operation with Wrexham Community Safety Partnership on a programme to alert people to the dangers of this drug.”

Signs from the government are that mephedrone could be banned by April 16.

Home Office Minister and Delyn MP David Hanson told Parliament that Home Secretary Alan Johnson had laid a draft order before Parliament to approve the ban on mephedrone and similar derivatives.

North Wales Police, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and Wrexham Council are working in partnership to make people aware of the dangers of using mephedrone.

A ban on importing the drug into the UK came into force earlier this week.

Cllr Arfon Jones, the council’s lead member for children (additional learning, families and support) said: “Just because mephedrone is currently legal, it does not mean that it is safe to use.

“Currently mephedrone and related drugs are legal and do not fall under The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

“However the government’s drugs advisors recommended mephedrone be made illegal and that it should be a Class B drug.

“We can see from the reported side-effects that this is a highly dangerous drug.

"Mephedrone has not been tested for human consumption and there is no information about the long term effects. I strongly urge anyone not to take this drug.”

Jonathan Miller, health and wellbeing manger for Wrexham Council’s Young Person’s Drug Alcohol Team, said: “The team will offer support to young people who been affected by mephedrone.

"Staff have recently been on a training course which will help them to identify and deal with cases involving young people and mephedrone.

“This information is now been integrated into education sessions delivered to school, youth clubs and other groups.

"A briefing has also prepared that will be sent out to local schools, youth clubs and youth workers to raise their awareness of mephedrone."