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A YOUNG man who made £500 a night selling mephedrone, or miaow miaow, says it “ruined” his life when he became hooked on it - and is speaking out to warn others not to take it.

Jack Sexton, now 20, told the Argus he began dealing the then legal synthetic drug aged 16 when it first started to appear in Brynmawr and Tredegar and was a legal high. Not a user at first, finding the effects were too strong for him, he sold the then 'legal high' on in pubs and to regular customers.

Mr Sexton, from Sirhowy, Tredegar, said: “I’d make £500 on a Friday and Saturday night. At two or three in the morning when I got home from the pub there would be people waking me up, coming all the way from Rhymney, Ebbw Vale, Brynmawr, coming from everywhere just to get stuff off me. It was crazy. It went from that to having nothing, not enough to go and get yourself a pint of milk.”

At 18, he became addicted to the Class B mephedrone, which became illegal in 2010. “When I started using it myself, then I seen all the terrible effects – what I’d been doing to people,“ Mr Sexton said.

He described how his life unravelled: “I had about £2,500 in the bank, I had brand new clothes, I had everything I needed. I had one line of that and within three to four months I had nothing. All my money had run out on drink and drugs. I was thirteen stone and I went down to nine stone.

“I didn’t wash, I didn’t eat, I was just up for days in the same clothes walking about parties and that. It’ll turn you dirty, into something you’re not. All I thought about was that drug.”

Trying to get clean was so difficult, he said, because “it’s about everywhere, no matter where you go. Go to a pub it’s in the pub, go down the street they’re offering up in the street.”

Estimating only 10 per cent of his peers at school weren’t users, he said: “I think it makes you mentally ill. If I didn’t have none, all I wanted to do was die. It’s completely crazy how it’ll turn you. You can wake up in the morning, not have no drugs or nothing and you can be happy with your life. Then you have a couple of lines of that and you think, “ah this is brilliant”. Then when you come around in the morning you just don’t want to talk to no-one. In the daytime I wouldn’t go out, I wouldn’t go outside. I’d have all my blinds closed, I’d just sit there sniffing drugs and that. I was a recluse weirdo. “

Now clean of the drug, Mr Sexton wants to speak out to deter others from trying the drug: “Because I’m not even 21 yet and I feel like my life is ruined. When you’re on the drug you end up stealing off people for money to fund your habit. Then when you do get clean and get off it nobody trusts you anymore. You’re on your own.

“If I can change one life out of 100,000, stop one young kid taking that miaow, I would.”

The use of the drug in Gwent was investigated in a special series of articles in the Argus in 2013.

Mephedrone addiction is explored in an hour long drama ‘The Good Drug Dealer’, filmed in Tredegar, which premiered at the Market Hall Cinema in Brynmawr on January 16.