Police are warning of a new drug known as Monkey Dust, which causes powerful hallucinations and paranoia yet costs as little as £2.
The drug, also known as MDPV, is causing a public health crisis across Staffordshire and the West Midlands, with paramedics called to 178 incidents since April.
When approached by members of the emergency services, users of the highly-addictive drug have been known to become violent, with the effects lasting several days.
The Class B drug dampens perceptions of pain and induces severe paranoia, which makes apprehending them particularly challenging for police officers.
PC Rich Frost said: “When you are trying to restrain them it’s almost like trying to restrain someone who thinks they are the Incredible Hulk, the strength is unbelievable.”
A video has emerged online of a user jumping from the roof of a building, landing on a car, and then grappling with police officers.
West Midlands paramedics are now considering whether they need body armour.
‘I hate it’
A man known as Smithy, who has been taking the drug for a year now, said: “I hate it. I hate the fact I like it. I hate it every time I’m on it, but I’m still on it.”
Molly, from Stoke, says she no longer goes out at night time for fear of the drug users, saying: “It makes the people so strong and off their heads.
“I mean at night time when it’s just the street lights, or you see someone that’s on this Monkey Dust and they’re swinging their arms around and they’re shouting, screaming, that would frighten me to death.”
Staffordshire Police say the force receives an average of 10 call outs per day, with 950 incidents relating to Monkey Dust reported over the last three months.