South East Wales

MCAT film to show dangers of drug and impact of addiction

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Media captionThe Good Drug Dealer looks at the impact of mephedrone across Wales

His film showing the devastating consequences of texting behind the wheel was praised around the world and was even championed by President Barack Obama.

Now, director Peter Watkins-Hughes's latest drama is tackling the dangers of the drug mephedrone.

The film looks at the impact of the drug across Wales and the devastating effect addiction can have on families.

It will be used to educate teenagers in south Wales schools.

The Good Drug Dealer stars Torchwood actor Gareth David Lloyd and is a follow-up to Mr Watkins-Hughes's shocking text driving film, Cow, which became a YouTube hit in 2009.

The project comes off the back of a campaign by Jeff O'Reilly, who petitioned to get mephedrone banned as a legal high.

He worked with Blaenau Gwent councillors, who set up a group including police officers, housing association staff and councils, to look at how they could tackle the problem of synthetic drugs in the area.

Director Mr Watkins-Hughes told BBC Radio Wales he decided to get involved after regularly seeing teenagers taking the substance in the streets near his home.

"Mephedrone is something now that's much more dangerous because if you're a young person in Wales today it's a lot easier and cheaper to source mephedrone than it is to get drink," he said.

"What we found out... is that previously young people were not approached to buy things like heroin - now you've got dealers cruising the streets asking 11 and 12-year-old kids to buy this drug."

Tredegar councillor Haydn Trollope said at first people did not realise just how big the problem was in Blaenau Gwent.

Image caption Film director Peter Watkins-Hughes was also behind the shocking text driving film Cow in 2009

"I thought yes, there are drugs in the valleys, but when young people come to speak to teachers and say 'help, my colleagues are dying' we knew there was something [wrong]," he said.

The film was funded by a £5,000 grant from the Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner's Partnership Fund, £3,000 from Tai Calon Community Housing and will be shown to teenagers in schools across Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly.

Mephedrone, which comes from a compound found in the plant khat, was made a Class B drug in 2010.

The Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs recommended a ban, saying the substance was "likely to be harmful" despite incomplete research.

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