Harmful dance drug is on the rise

A LEADING drugs charity today said use of the harmful dance-drug ketamine is on the increase in the Ipswich area.

A LEADING drugs charity today said use of the harmful dance-drug ketamine is on the increase in the Ipswich area.

More youngsters are taking the substance, known as Special K or Raver's smack, with users injecting it to maintain their "high", according to DrugScope.

The organisation carried out a survey in 20 areas around the country and found ketamine, which is also used as a tranquilliser for horses in low doses, was taken in higher doses by revellers as prices fall.

Those working to help addicts in Ipswich said they had noticed an increase in use, but stressed the numbers of people they were aware of were not very high.


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The eight other areas which reported an increase in the Class C drug were Portsmouth, London, Bristol, Birmingham, Nottingham, Sheffield, Blackpool and Newcastle.

DrugScope chief executive Martin Barnes said: "These trends are concerning. Ketamine has been increasingly common on the club scene but there is worrying evidence that people are experimenting with larger amounts or are even injecting the drug.

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"Ketamine's harms increase considerably at high doses and injecting users risk exposure to blood-borne viruses such as Hepatitis C or HIV.

"Evidence of young people using ketamine is a particular concern, especially as many users may underestimate the risks involved.”

A gram of ketamine has dropped in price by a third in three years and now costs �20, half the price of a gram of cocaine, the DrugScope survey found.

The findings are in line with the British Crime Survey last year, which revealed ketamine use was up ten per cent on 2006/07.

In recreational doses of up to 200 times the medical dose ketamine can cause heart or lung failure.

Deaths from the drug are most often linked to accidents which happen when users lose control. There were 23 ketamine-related deaths between 1993 and 2006. Ketamine was made illegal three years ago.

n. Have you been affected by ketamine use? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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