DRUGS charities are warning of a rise in demand for a killer drug, nicknamed Special K, in the North.
Clubbers and addicts are increasingly turning away from ecstasy and heroin to ketamine, a dangerous horse tranquilliser that has been linked to 23 deaths.
According to a leading drug charity worker, addicts on Teesside are turning to the drug because it’s purer than heroin, while research by Newcastle-based Drugscope found there was an increased use amongst clubbers of the narcotic.
Tina Williams, of Parents and Addicts Against Narcotics in the Community said: “Ketamine is the new ‘stuff’ and we have a lot of people using. It’s definitely on the increase.
“It’s a horse sedative and it has a similar effect to heroin. Addicts have cottoned onto this as heroin is now so diluted in the region they can’t even get a hit off it.
“It’s readily available and now addicts have more options rather than just heroin and crack.
“Because it’s a class C drug people don’t think that it can be dangerous.”
Known as Special K, Vitamin K or simply K, the drug is developing a strong following in dance club circuits despite being made illegal three years ago.
It is usually snorted or swallowed but according to research by Drugscope, more and more people are choosing to inject it.
At low levels users feel euphoric, experience waves of energy and even a condition called synaesthesia where users’ senses merge into one another.
But at higher levels the drug can cause paralysis, hallucinations and a disassociation that is close to an out of body experience. It is also a known date rape drug as it has no taste and is odourless.
In Northumbria Police force area the number of seizures have risen from 96 tablets in 2008 to 144 this year.
DI Dave Nicholson of Northumbria Police’s drug unit said: “Although there has been a slight rise in grams of Ketamine seized this year, the use of Ketamine is not a significant issue in the force area. I want to reinforce that taking of Ketamine is not safe and can have a devastating impact upon your health.
“If you become aware of anyone selling or supplying these substances for human consumption, please call police on 03456 043 043 6919. For free advice call the national drug awareness campaign FRANK on 08700 77 6600.”
The drug claimed 23 lives between 1993 and 2006, mainly through accidents while people are under its influence.
December 6, 2009