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  1. ITV Report

'Legal high' drug banned

Daniel Lloyd and Hugo Wenn drowned in a pond after taking methoxetamine Photo: Kent Police

The Home Office announced that it will make methoxetamine, also known as mexxy, illegal for 12 months while Government advisers decide whether it should be permanently controlled.

The drug is seen as an alternative to the drug ketamine, a a powerful general anaesthetic that’s used for operations on humans and animals.

It follows the deaths of Daniel Lloyd, 25, and Hugo Wenn,17, who both drowned in a pond in Canterbury after taking the drug.

There were also concerns that two people whose bodies were found in Leicestershire in February may have taken some form of the drug after buying it over the internet.

The bodies of Daniel Lloyd and Hugo Wenn were found at a pond in Canterbury Credit: ITV News

THe change in the law means that anyone caught making, supplying or importing the drug will face up to 14 years in prison and an unlimited fine under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971

Police and border officials will also be allowed to search or detain anyone they suspect of having the drug and seize, keep or dispose of a substance they suspect is mexxy.

Crime Prevention Minister Lord Henley said: "Making this drug illegal sends a clear message to users and those making and supplying it that we are stepping up our fight against substances which are dangerous and ruin the lives of victims and their families."

Since the drugs was referred to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) earlier this month, the advisers have presented further evidence that its use can lead to "significant additional toxicity", including agitation, a faster heart rate and higher blood pressure, as well as unsteadiness on the feet.

Such symptoms are rarely seen with ketamine or other recreational drugs, the advisers said

Tributes left to Daniel Lloyd and Hugo Wenn in Canterbury city centre. Credit: ITV News

Professor Les Iversen, chairman of the ACMD, said: "The evidence shows that the use of methoxetamine can cause harm to users.

"Many of the health effects of methoxetamine are similar to those of ketamine, which is already controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

"Users have also reported experiencing other serious effects including agitation, cardiovascular conditions and hypertension."