The frontline battle against monkey dust epidemic

His chaotic mum is screeching at him to get down then she threatens to kick us in the b******s.

:: Hooked on monkey dust: Warning of city-wide ‘epidemic’

She insists her boy, who’s in his twenties, isn’t on monkey dust.

His friends, who have come over the road from a hostel, insist that he is and tell us that they saw him taking it.

As the young man bounces around the roof – narrowly avoiding roof lights and fragile sections – he yells abuse at the growing number of concerned but weary police officers below.

They have to cordon off the roads, bring in extra resources, two ambulance teams turn up, the fire service are put on standby. It goes on for hours and every member of the emergency services could be elsewhere helping others.

But this is the norm now in north Staffordshire. This relatively unknown synthetic drug – also known as MDPV and “bath salts” – has taken hold here and is causing mayhem.

Users are getting it for £2 a go. They are vulnerable and often homeless people who can’t break out of a circle of abusing the drug that makes them feel invincible.

Our emergency services employ some of the most patient, understanding and compassionate people you will find but monkey dust is testing all of those attributes.

It has cropped up in other places but it’s reached “epidemic” levels around Stoke this summer, according to paramedics.

In hospital, users receive enormous doses of sedatives to help stabilise their bodies and minds.

Users often need two or three days of after-care just to keep them safe after an episode – it’s provided through various health services but also leans on limited police resources.

At current levels it’s unsustainable and has to be stopped.

Depressingly, nobody yet seems to have the answer.

:: Information on drug abuse is available by calling Talk to Frank on 0300 123 6600, or online at talktofrank.com.

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