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Monkey Dust Crisis

Written by: Alan Baker 17th July, 2023

What is ‘monkey dust’?

Monkey dust, also known as MDPV (methylenedioxypyrovalerone), is a synthetic psychoactive drug that is chemically similar to amphetamines.

It is a stimulant that produces a powerful rush of energy and euphoria.

The drug is usually snorted or smoked and has gained popularity in certain areas due to its relatively low cost compared to other illicit drugs.

Originally, monkey dust emerged in the UK as a “legal” alternative to banned drugs and was sold online as “not for human consumption” to bypass the law. However, it was eventually banned by the UK government and classified as a Class B drug, though there have been calls to upgrade its classification to Class A.


What are its effects?

The effects of monkey dust can be intense and long-lasting, with the powerful high lasting up to 12 hours.

Along with euphoria, it can cause hallucinations, paranoia, irrational behaviour, and significant increases in aggression and violent tendencies. The drug may cause serotonin levels in the brain to drop, leading to a lack of control over one’s behaviour.

Prolonged use can result in heart problems, kidney damage, extreme paranoia, and agitation. Moreover, addiction to monkey dust can be extremely damaging physically and mentally, and even a small overdose can be lethal.



Why Stoke-on-Trent?

Stoke-on-Trent, a city in the UK, has been at the centre of the monkey dust epidemic.

Factors contributing to its prevalence in the city include its status as one of the most deprived places in the country and the drug’s relatively low cost, potentially as little as £2 per hit.

Incidents of people committing crimes or becoming ill after taking the drug have been on the rise, leading to increasing concerns about its impact on the community.

Efforts are being made to address the issue, with organizations such as the Centre for Health Development (CHAD), Staffordshire University, and Expert Citizens Community Interest Company conducting research to better understand the drug and its effects. The report highlights the need for more research into the chemical makeup of the drug, usage patterns, and its impact on individuals. Furthermore, there is a call for increased awareness of support services for those affected by monkey dust use and the development of a dedicated support program for users.

Staffordshire Police prioritise targeting ‘monkey dust’ suppliers over users, recognising that users are often vulnerable individuals who need understanding and support instead of criminalisation. This approach aims to disrupt the drug supply chain while addressing the root causes of drug use .

The government is also reviewing whether to upgrade the classification of monkey dust from Class B to Class A to address the growing concerns surrounding its use and impact on communities.

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