October 11th, 2023
In 2018, UK tabloid newspapers began reporting the widespread use of a drug in Stoke on Trent that had turned people in the US into face-eating zombies. That drug was monkey dust and its reported effects include everything from cannibalism to superhuman strength. While many of these claims have yet to be scientifically confirmed, what is clear is that monkey dust drugs can cause serious issues including drug addiction, fatal overdose and community-wide increases in violent crime and behaviour. If you are suffering from monkey dust addiction, your life can quickly spiral downward but UKAT can help you take the first steps towards recovery.
What is monkey dust?
Monkey dust is a synthetic psychoactive substance also known as MDPV (3,4 methylenedioxypyrovalerone). It’s a stimulant drug often found in crystal or powder form and it produces a powerful rush of energy and euphoria similar to that of cocaine, ecstasy and amphetamines.
Monkey dust drugs are sometimes called ‘”magic”, “bath salts” and “zombie dust” and are usually snorted, wrapped in rolling papers and swallowed or smoked in a pipe. Monkey dust is very cheap, particularly compared to other illicit drugs making it a preferred drug for people in poverty whose financial struggles can exacerbate drug use.
What are the effects of abusing the monkey dust drug?
Monkey dust drug effects are intense and long-lasting. The powerful high produced by the drug can last for up to 12 hours and in addition to the euphoric effects can also cause hallucinations, paranoia, irrational behaviour and serious increases in aggression and violent tendencies.
These violent reactions may be due both to the chemical effects of monkey dust on the brain – it can cause serotonin levels to drop, leading to increased aggression like cocaine and methamphetamine- and to the lack of control the user has over their own behaviour due to the drug’s potency.
These adverse side effects have been seen frequently in Stoke on Trent since monkey dust drug use first took off in 2018. There have been numerous cases of people exhibiting extremely erratic behaviour, committing acts of violent crime and fighting with the police.
How is monkey dust addiction formed?
Monkey dust addiction is when you struggle to stop using monkey dust despite the associated risks and consequences. Monkey dust addiction can form in two main ways.
In some cases, people who are already suffering from substance abuse or mental health issues may find that the powerful effects of monkey dust drugs provide them with a quick and effective way to cope with their problems. This is because monkey dust can provide users with an intense sense of euphoria and escape, which they may be unable to find in any other way. This relief is usually short-lived and often exacerbates the underlying issues causing an endless and dangerous cycle of monkey dust abuse.
In other cases, recreational users may become addicted after repeatedly using the drug for its pleasurable effects and find that they can’t stop. In either case, monkey dust addiction can quickly spiral out of control as users develop a tolerance to the drug which leads them to take ever-increasing amounts in order to achieve the same high. Eventually, this leads to physical dependence where you need to take monkey dust drugs just to feel “normal” and avoid withdrawal symptoms like insomnia, nausea, anxiety and paranoia.
What factors can increase the chances of monkey dust addiction?
In addition to substance abuse and mental health issues, there are some other factors which can increase your chances of developing monkey dust addiction. These include:
- Unresolved trauma – Monkey dust can provide a temporary reprieve from traumatic thoughts and emotions but the underlying issues remain unaddressed.
- Availability of monkey dust – Stoke on Trent has been particularly badly hit by monkey dust addiction due to the drug’s easy availability on the street.
- Loneliness – People who are isolated and have few social connections may be more likely to turn to drugs like monkey dust as a means of escaping their reality.
- A family history of addiction – Genetic predisposition is thought to be a factor when it comes to drug addiction, so if you have relatives who struggle with substance abuse then your chances of developing a monkey dust addiction are higher.
What are the negative effects of monkey dust addiction?
Monkey dust addiction can be extremely damaging both physically and mentally. It carries a high risk of lethal overdose (effects can occur with as little as 3mg-5mg), can lead to heart problems and kidney damage, cause extreme paranoia and agitation and in some cases has been known to induce hallucinations and psychosis.
The effects of monkey dust addiction are not limited to physical health either as users may find their relationships, finances, education or career suffer as a result of their dependency. Legal issues are also a huge concern both due to monkey dust drug classification as a Class B substance and the high incident rate of crime linked to monkey dust abuse.
Am I addicted to monkey dust?
Because monkey dust drug effects are so serious, it is crucial to identify monkey dust addiction and seek help as soon as possible. Here are some questions to ask yourself which could point to signs of monkey dust addiction:
- Am I taking monkey dust drugs more and more frequently?
- Is it difficult for me to control my monkey dust drug use?
- Have I attempted to quit taking monkey dust but have been unable to do so?
- Do I experience withdrawal symptoms if I try to stop taking monkey dust drugs?
- Is my monkey dust drug use causing difficulty in my relationships, work or education?
- Have I started to neglect my health as a result of taking monkey dust drugs?
- Have I been in trouble with the police or engaged in criminal activity as a result of monkey dust drug use?
If you have answered yes to one or more of these questions, it is likely that you have a monkey dust addiction.
Support for monkey dust addiction
Recovery from monkey dust addiction requires two important stages.
- The first stage involves the physical elimination of monkey dust from your system through drug detox to break the physical aspect of monkey dust addiction. Monkey dust withdrawal symptoms can be severe so it is always safest and most effective when this process is completed under medical supervision.
- The second stage involves a range of therapies and activities in drug rehab intended to help you identify, address and manage the underlying issues that may have led to your monkey dust abuse and addiction.
Monkey dust myths
Monkey dust is a fairly new drug and more research is needed to fully understand its effects. This has led to a range of rumours and misconceptions about monkey dust which need to be dispelled in order to break the stigma.
Some common myths include:
Monkey dust drug abuse makes you cannibalistic
The origins of this myth most likely go back to a high-profile 2012 story in Miami, USA, where a man attacked a homeless man and repeatedly bit his face causing serious injuries. While Miami police first attributed this to the man using monkey dust, toxicology reports later showed that he did not have any monkey dust in his system. In fact, the man had a history of violence and mental health issues which likely provoked the attack. However, monkey dust can and does lead to violent thoughts and behaviour and so it is still a very dangerous drug.
Monkey dust drugs give you superhuman strength
There is no scientific evidence to support this claim. What is more likely is that some people who take monkey dust become hyper-aggressive and less sensitive to pain, so when police or members of the public encounter them, they are more likely to be met with violent force.
Monkey dust is legal
Monkey dust is not legal in the UK and it is an offence to possess, supply or produce monkey dust drugs. The penalties for possessing monkey dust can range from a fine if you are caught with a small amount to up to five years imprisonment if you are found to be supplying the substance. In fact, the MP for Stoke on Trent has recently petitioned the government to increase monkey dust drug classification from Class B to Class A as a result of the harm it is doing in his community.
How to get help for monkey dust addiction
If you are struggling with monkey dust addiction, now is the time to seek help. Get in touch with UKAT today and we can help you find the best treatment centre to begin your recovery journey and free yourself from the grips of this awful drug.
Frequently asked questions
Is monkey dust the same as spice?
No, while the two are often compared due to their “zombie-like” effects on some users, spice is a synthetic cannabinoid which causes similar effects to highly potent marijuana, while monkey dust is a stimulant which has similar properties to MDMA, cocaine and methamphetamines.
How does monkey dust compare to other drugs?
All drugs carry the risk of potential abuse and dependency but what makes monkey dust particularly dangerous is the behavioural changes it can cause and the high risk of overdose. This is why it is so important to seek help if you are struggling with monkey dust addiction as soon as possible.
How do I know if a loved one is addicted to monkey dust?
In addition to common signs of drug abuse and addiction like changes in behaviour and drug paraphernalia around the house, one often cited sign of monkey dust addiction and abuse is sweat that smells distinctly like vinegar or prawns. If you notice this alongside other signs of monkey dust addiction, you should speak to your loved one about your concerns and help them get the treatment they need.