EC urges EU-wide ban on mephedrone
An ecstasy-style drug linked to 37 deaths in the UK and Ireland should be banned across the EU, the European Commission has said.
Mephedrone is already illegal in 15 member states, including the UK and Ireland, and the remaining dozen EU countries are being urged to join in to stop the spread of the drug.
"Mephedrone is a dangerous drug that is available online and on the street corner. People have already died because of this drug, so I urge governments to move fast to control and criminalise it," said EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding.
"We have a responsibility to protect young people against dangerous new psychoactive substances such as mephedrone."
The commission says two fatalities have been reported in the EU "in which mephedrone appears to be the sole cause of death".
There have been at least another 37 deaths in the UK and Ireland in which mephedrone was detected in post-mortem samples.
The commission is proposing criminalising the manufacture and marketing of mephedrone in any member state.
Mephedrone is a stimulant with physical effects similar to those of ecstasy or cocaine.
Often marketed on the internet as plant food or bath salts, it is sold in powder or tablet form, with a growing trade via street dealers.
A study of the drug by the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction has warned that mephedrone can cause acute health problems and can be addictive.