Public health fears mount over 'face-eating' monkey dust drug

Police chiefs have voiced concerns about a terrifying drug known as monkey dust.

Police are concerned about more people using monkey dust.
Police are concerned about more people using monkey dust.

The drug - which can be swallowed or injected - is reported to leave users feeling as strong as the Incredible Hulk and unable to feel pain.

It also leaves users suffering from extreme paranoia and causes them to become violent.

The psychoactive synthetic has been linked to horrific face-eating attacks in America and some users are said to want to climb tall buildings and jump off them.

Commander Simon Bray, of the National Police Chiefs' Council, said use of the drug can spread due to chat on social media.

He said: "Once someone has had monkey dust and starts extolling its virtues or selling it locally, dealers respond to that.

"It becomes common in relation to a group of friends and then news about it is spread more easily through social media than it would through phone or word of mouth."

The use of monkey dust has spiked in recent months in the West Midlands, with a number of cases reported in Stoke-on-Trent.

Staffordshire Police said it dealt with 950 reports in three months related to the designer drug.

Chf Supt Jeff Moore, Staffordshire Police's head of neighbourhood policing and partnerships, has warned of a potential public health crisis.

He said: "The drug is highly addictive and highly unpredictable, meaning emergency services can often struggle to provide the appropriate treatment to those under the influence.

"The level of resource required is often far greater than we have experienced before, with some suffering the effects of use for several days.

"By starting this very public conversation, we hope to work with partners to create a joined-up approach that will hopefully lower the number of people using the drug and tackle the production and supply of the drug."

Monkey dust was legal in the UK until it was re-classified as a Class B drug in 2010 after a crackdown.