People sometimes take recreational drugs to escape, or to feel good. But a substance that is currently becoming an “epidemic” in the UK, according to police in the north of England, is causing psychotic, violent behaviour.
The drug, known as “monkey dust,” is sweeping across the northern UK, and is said to make users feel as though they have incredible strength akin to the Hulk, and can make them act dangerously — scaling buildings and jumping from great heights.
It’s the same drug as “bath salts” which have been linked to reports of “face-eating attacks” in the US in recent years. Bath salts used to be readily available to buy in the US in American petrol stations and convenience stores, but were outlawed by Obama in 2012.
The substance is methylenedioxypyrovalerone, or MDPV, and gives a similar feeling to that of Mcat or mephedrone, according to Why Not Find Out— an online source of information about drugs.
It’s a class B drug in the UK to possess or sell, meaning if you’re caught with it you face an unlimited fine and up to five years in prison. Selling or producing it can mean being locked away for 14 years.
MDPV looks like a fine white or brownish powder, and usually sells for about £10 to £15 for a gram, which is significantly cheaper than other recreational drugs like MDMA and cocaine. Sky News reports in Stoke-on-Trent it can be bought for as little as £2.
“It gives great energy and euphoria but can cause depression the following day,” according to Why Not Find Out. “It is addictive. It also makes people who take it smell of urine, as does their clothes and sheets.”
Other side effects include a paranoia, hallucinations, chest pain, and high blood pressure.
MDPV has risen in popularity this summer in the UK, according to Sky News, with police and paramedics responding to a series of violent attacks and psychotic episodes, including people leaping from buildings and trying to fight with officers. Apparently, MDPV makes people fearless.
“When you are trying to restrain them it’s like you are dealing with someone who thinks they are the Incredible Hulk,” PC Rich Frost told Sky News. “The strength is unbelievable.”
In June, there were reports of a “bad batch” of monkey dust being sold in Telford, which was linked to deaths in the area.
“If anyone has taken the drug and falls ill then they should seek medical attention immediately,” said Detective Inspector Lee Holehouse, from Telford CID.
“The dangers of taking drugs are well known and all drugs pose a risk to those who take them but I would like to reiterate this additional danger.”