Lethal dance drug mephedrone is now as popular as cocaine among young people, says a new survey.
More than one in 25 teenagers and young adults - nearly 300,000 people - admitted using it last year, making it the second most popular drug among those aged between 16 and 24.
The figures released by the British Crime Survey also showed a rise in cannabis use and a staggering 25 per cent increase in ketamine use.
Mephedrone, also known as M-Cat or meow-meow, is sold online as plant food or bath salts, with a gram costing between 20 pounds and 25 pounds.
The white powder is strongly addictive and can leave users paranoid and anxious. It can over stimulate the heart and nervous system, leading to fits or even death.
Drugs minister James Brokenshire said it was "too early to draw any conclusions" about how effective the ban on mephedrone had been.
"It was made a controlled substance in April last year. We have to look at what the figures are next year," the Daily Mail quoted Brokenshire as saying.
"Clearly we are concerned about legal highs and that's why we are putting legislation on the statute book to enable the Government to respond quickly if there are emerging drugs," Brokenshire said.
"Simply because people think a drug is legal it doesn't mean it's safe," added Brokenshire.