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The rise in monkey dust used by drug addicts in Stoke-on-Trent may be because they cannot afford to buy cocaine or heroin, according to a report by the Stoke-on-Trent Health and Wellbeing Board. The report presented to the City Council said that the substance is available for as little as £2 per dose, making it attractive to vulnerable addicts.

Monkey dust is one of several novel psychoactive substances (NPS) that were available legally until being criminalised in 2010. Similar NPS, including spice and black mamba, have become a problem in other cities. Last year, health chiefs issued a warning about Black Mamba following seven deaths in Birmingham. The spice epidemic across the UK continues to make headlines and its use in prisons is putting inmates, prison officers and medical professionals at risk.

Stoke-on-Trent’s monkey dust epidemic is causing unpredictable and dangerous behaviour among its addicts, including paranoia and agitation, which is placing a strain on services provided by paramedics and the police. The number of 999 calls related to monkey dust have increased dramatically, with calls averaging 10 a day from May to August 2018.

The City Council is evaluating steps to combat the growing NPS problem. One proposed step is the development of a ‘homeless hub’ that would provide more visible support to the community. Similar hubs, already operating in Wrexham, Leeds and London, will be assessed to see what lessons can be learned. Current monkey dust users and their families can receive support from community alcohol and drug services. For information on AlphaBiolabs’ range of drug testing services, call us on 0333 600 1300 or email info@alphabiolabs.com.