Frightening 'monkey dust' drug could be upgraded to class A with dealers facing life sentences
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People found to be dealing a dangerous street drug called monkey dust could face a life sentence in prison as officials are considering whether to reclassify it as a Class A drug.
The 'dust' nickname has likely come from the look of the drug, which can usually be found as a fine white, off-white or yellowish powder.
It's currently a Class B drug, meaning it's illegal to possess or sell and could result in five years in prison for possession, or up to 14 years for supply.
However, those sentences could be increased as the UK government is looking at cracking down on the drug following a rise in cases.
The city of Stoke-on-Trent in particular has seen a rise in the number of people using monkey dust, as well as an increase in crimes believed to be linked to the drug.
According to Frank, monkey dust can cause the user to feel euphoria and empathy, as well as increasing alertness, but the drug can also be responsible for making the user anxious and paranoid, as well as reducing inhibitions, which could lead to accidents.
Some users are even reported to have jumped off buildings or tried to eat glass after taking the drug, which can be used as an alternative to drugs like speed, ecstasy or cocaine.
Stoke-on-Trent South MP Jack Brereton has previously expressed support for bigger penalties for the drug.
He said: "It's a hallucinogenic drug, and many people's lives have been completely destroyed as a result of taking this drug.
"There is no treatment for those who become addicted - and it is very addictive. For those who succumb to it, it's very profound.
"It's 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."
Brereton has claimed that a hit of the drug can cost as little as £2 to buy on the street, but reclassifying it as a Class A drug would mean harsher punishment for users and dealers.
If reclassified, criminals caught supplying monkey dust would face a life sentence, while those found in possession would face up to seven years in prison.
The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs is conducting a review on monkey dust and is set to report back to the government with its findings.