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For most of the last decade, an average of four or five new legal drugs came on to the market each year. Trade was steady – government efforts were focused on fighting the spread of illegal substances. And then mephedrone appeared on the scene: cheap, legal and available online. By 2010, the drug, now dubbed meow meow by journalists, had become the fourth most popular drug on the market, after marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy. It was banned in April of that year, but not before a new market had emerged for online legal highs. In 2011, EU researchers found 49 new legal drugs for sale online. In 2012, 73 were identified; hundreds more were banned.
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