Home Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy “Monkey Dust” Crisis: Stoke-on-Trent Grapples with the Rise of a Dangerous Drug

“Monkey Dust” Crisis: Stoke-on-Trent Grapples with the Rise of a Dangerous Drug

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The city of Stoke-on-Trent has found itself at the centre of a growing crisis surrounding a drug known as “monkey dust”. This synthetic stimulant has been making headlines for its alarming effects, including hallucinations, psychosis, and violent behaviour. The UK Government is now considering reclassifying the drug as a Class A substance, a move that would bring harsher penalties for its distribution and use.

What is monkey dust?

Monkey dust, sometimes called “zombie dust”, is a synthetic cathinone, a class of drugs similar to amphetamines. It is sold as a white powder and can be snorted, smoked, or injected. The drug is relatively cheap, costing around £20 per gram, and has gained popularity for its long-lasting highs. However, each batch varies in composition, making it difficult to predict its effects or the risks involved. Reports suggest that the drug is mainly imported from China, although some sources indicate that India is also becoming a significant supplier.

The impact on users

Contrary to some media portrayals, monkey dust does not turn users into “zombies”. However, it can induce erratic and impulsive behaviour, often leading to violent incidents. Users may experience a surge of adrenaline, feeling as though they have superhuman abilities. Side effects also include paranoia and increased agitation. The drug has been particularly appealing to individuals with cross-addictions, adding another layer of complexity to the issue.

Stoke-on-Trent: a hotspot for monkey dust

Stoke-on-Trent’s status as a transit region and its position in one of the UK’s most deprived areas have made it a prime target for the distribution of monkey dust. The city council has received over £5 million from the government’s new drug strategy to improve drug and alcohol treatment. Local authorities are committed to tackling the issue, but residents are increasingly frustrated by the drug’s negative impact on their community.

Government response and legal status

Currently classified as a Class B drug, monkey dust could face reclassification to Class A if the Government’s review supports such a move. This would mean stricter penalties for those caught distributing or using the drug. Local police forces are supportive of this potential reclassification, as it would offer them more tools to combat the drug’s spread.

A European perspective

While the issue may seem localised, monkey dust is part of a broader European problem. Large quantities of synthetic cathinones have been seized across the continent. Regulating these substances is challenging, as manufacturers frequently alter the drug’s components to bypass existing bans.

Public concern and future steps

The rise of monkey dust has alarmed residents not just in Stoke-on-Trent but across the UK. Stories of users engaging in dangerous and bizarre behaviour have fuelled public concern. The government’s consideration to reclassify the drug as a Class A substance is a step towards addressing this growing issue. However, tackling the problem will require a multi-faceted approach, involving not just legal measures but also public health initiatives and community engagement.

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