Deadly drug is reaping havoc on UK city leaving people scarred for life
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A drugs expert has expressed concern that a deadly substance could grip the UK after more and more people have started experimenting with it in one particular city.
While there are a whole host of illegal drugs in use out in the world, there are some that are known to be much more dangerous than others.
Crystal meth is often depicted as one of the more extreme drugs, given its extreme addictive qualities and its power to create an intense high, along with a severe comedown.
The drug can make people feel alert, but also paranoid and aggressive.
Usage can raise the risk of heart attack and severe psychosis, as well as causing more lifelong health issues including strokes and lung, kidney and gastrointestinal damage.
In some cases, coma and death can occur.
In spite of all those risks, though, researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University and Greater Manchester Combined Authorities have found an increase in usage of the drug in Manchester.
People interviewed for the study said there had been an 'explosion' of the drug, with one commenting: "From personal experience, being involved in that scene in Manchester, I can certainly say that in the last 12-18 months, there’s been an explosion of use of crystal meth around Manchester.
"Two to three years ago, there's probably only two to three people supplying it in the area. I currently have on my phone, 23 crystal meth dealers in Manchester. It's unheard of. There's probably more, springing up all over the place."
A number of interviewees said it was common to see the drug, also known as Tina, being smoked openly in Manchester's Gay Village.
"You go to the village now and it's everywhere," one person said. "You go in the toilets in the bars and people are just openly smoking it, big puffs of smoke, Tina everywhere, it's so blatant now, they just don't care!"
Types of the substance being sold include 'English T', 'Hong Kong T', 'German T' and 'Pink Champagne'.
Dealers are also reportedly selling 'sex party packages', combining meth with the depressants GHB and GBL to help users come down, and selling them alongside prescription drugs, such as Viagra and Zopiclone.
One of the authors of the report, drugs expert Prof. Rob Ralphs, expressed fears the drug usage could spread across the country.
"We've been talking about crystal meth since the 90s, saying it was going to be the next big thing, the new crack, that it will be used by that same population, but it never happened," he said. "We had Breaking Bad and it still didn't happen.
"But what's different this time is that it's being made on a large scale in the Netherlands, the Mexican cartels are involved, Afghanistan is involved. All the big players in the drugs trafficking market are there."
Noting that it's 'mainly men who have sex with men that are using it' at the moment, he added: "What came up a lot in the research is that a couple of years ago a lot of people were saying they would never touch it.
"People were really negative about it, it was highly stigmatised. Fast forward a couple of years and those same people who were so negative about it are using it."
Ralphs also drew attention to the reduced price of meth now, with the drug available for as little as £40 per gram in comparison to the previous £120 per gram.
"The result of the drop in price is that it used to be middle aged, affluent professionals, now more teenagers and people in their 20s are using it because it's cheaper, its affordable," Ralphs said. "Quite often you see new drugs emerge in the LGBT community, then find their way into the clubs and then move into a wider demographic."
To help prevent the spread, the researchers stressed the 'urgent need to educate people about harm reduction approaches'.
The report suggested raising awareness of the drugs and their effects among emergency services, health workers and mental health workers, as well as launching a public health campaign to highlight the risks.
LADbible has contacted Manchester Police for comment on the report.