POLICE have vowed to come down hard on dealers and users of banned party drug mephedrone.
The substance – also known as MCAT and meow meow – has been made a class B drug following a string of high-profile deaths linked to its use.
West Yorkshire Police are now warning people they face stiff penalties for breaking the law.
Courts have powers to impose prison sentences of five years for users and 14 for dealers.
Up to now some sellers have advertised mephedrone as plant food, not fit for human consumption.
But Bryan Dent, West Yorkshire’s drugs co-ordinator, said such disclaimers would no longer protect them.
He said: “From tomorrow these phrases will not affect the police response – suppliers and dealers of mephedrone will be arrested and taken to court.”
The drug’s effects are similar to ecstasy, but are said to cause insomnia, nose and throat irritations, increased blood pressure and heart rate, palpitations, hallucinations and psychosis.
Mr Dent added: “The police have no agenda to criminalise young people who use mephedrone, but that does not mean we will turn a blind eye to users.
“They run the risk of being arrested and getting a criminal conviction.
“To suppliers, I give the warning: if you continue to supply mephedrone, watch out. Not only will we take you to court, we will seek to take every penny which you have made from drug dealing.”