The UK Government is considering reclassifying the drug ‘monkey dust’ from Class B to A, it has been announced.
The Home Office has asked the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to consider whether “certain synthetic cathinones, such as MDPHP and others termed ‘monkey dust’” warrant a tougher approach.
Monkey dust is a highly-addictive drug which causes powerful hallucinations, dampens perceptions of pain and induces severe paranoia. The drug is driving a public health crisis across Staffordshire and the West Midlands.
Police Minister Chris Philp said: “These synthetic drugs ruin lives, families and neighbourhoods. Made in labs and pumped into our communities, our drug laws must keep pace with their evolution.”
Chief Inspector and operational lead on drugs at Staffordshire Police, Rob Hessell, welcomed the assessment and said reclassification “would make the drugs harder to access and introduce tougher penalties for possession”.
Under UK law, Class A drugs carry a penalty of up to life in prison for supply, and up to seven years behind bars for possession.
Stoke-on-Trent South MP Jack Brereton, who has been calling for change, said the drug is “so cheaply available, it’s cheaper than the price of alcohol and people are able to just pick it up readily”.
“We need to see reclassification and put the consequences up for those who are pushing this drug.”
The ACMD will now undertake the review and return its advice to the Government.