What is Class B drug ‘monkey dust’ and why is it so dangerous?

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There has been a recent surge in the use of ‘monkey dust’, a new drug that can allegedly cause users to run into traffic and attempt to climb buildings.

Police are now warning the public against the use of this highly dangerous drug, which has seen a number of people suffer from paranoia and agitation, among other side effects.

This illegal drug, can be bought in powder form for as little as £2 a hit, and can leave users in a “zombie-like state”.

But what exactly is monkey dust and what dangers does it pose?

What is monkey dust?

Monkey dust, or Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), was first developed in the 1960s by a team at German pharmaceutical company, Boehringer Ingelheim.

The drug remained mostly obscure until the early 2000s, when it reportedly began to be sold as a designer drug.

The drug contains a stimulant known as cathinone, an ingredient derived from the plant Khat, and usually comes in a yellowish-white powder form which can be injected, snorted or ingested.

Cathinones are chemically similar to amphetamines and also have similar effects.

Synthetic drugs such as MDPV can be made with tweaks to their chemical structure, which is why their side effects are so unpredictable.

What does it do?

Monkey dust is also referred to as ‘zombie dust’ and ‘cannibal dust’, and stops users from feeling pain, but also causes hallucinations, agitation and severe paranoia.

Some users may believe they are being chased, causing them to lash out at others, run into roads and climb buildings.

Users of this drug are now being described exhibiting behaviour similar to Marvel character, the Incredible Hulk.

Monkey dust can also cause hypothermia by producing high body temperatures, and its effects can last for several days, sometimes leading to hospitalisation and long-term illnesses.

Is it illegal?

The UK government classes synthetic cathinones such a monkey dust as Class B drugs, and the substance is therefore illegal.

Monkey dust is also illegal in the USA, Australia and Canada.

How many people are using it?

Both the Police and Ambulance Service in the UK have seen an increase in the rise of incidents and call-outs regarding this drug.

It is now feared that more people across the country will start taking the addictive powder, due to it being sold at such a low cost.

The city of Stoke in particular has witnessed the biggest spike in drug-users taking monkey dust.

Staffordshire Police and emergency services have reportedly responded to around 950 incidents related to monkey dust in the past three months. This equates to more than 10 a day.

West Midlands Ambulance Service has also seen an increase in monkey dust related call-outs since December 2017.

“The public may be familiar with users wandering about in a zombie-like state after taking these drugs, but this is something different,” said Staffordshire Police Chief Superintendent Jeff Moore.

“There are various strains of these drugs and what we are seeing now is people becoming extremely agitated and paranoid. Sometimes they can be violent. They’re often trying to get away from things, so they’ll climb up buildings or run into traffic.”

There have been no recorded incidents related to monkey dust in Scotland, according to local police.

Read more at: https://www.scotsman.com/read-this/monkey-dust-drug-dangerous/