You may have heard monkey dust being mentioned on the news recently. If you’re unsure about what it is and why it’s gaining attention in the mainstream media, you’re in the right place.
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about this substance, including information on exactly what it is, how prominent it is right now in the UK and why it’s dangerous.
What Is Monkey Dust?
Monkey Dust (Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), is a synthetic cathinone that has become increasingly prevalent across the UK.
This psychoactive substance is not a naturally occurring stimulant drug, and it is part of the broader category of “bath salts,” a group of other drugs known for their stimulant and hallucinogenic effects.
Psychoactive substances (e.g. cocaine and MDMA), which have been available for a considerable time, show some differences in their effects compared to monkey dust. It’s becoming known for causing severe paranoia, hallucinations, and even violent behaviour in those who use it.
What Drug Class Is Monkey Dust in the UK?
Currently, the UK government has classified monkey dust as a Class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
This classification includes drugs that are considered by law to have a potential for abuse but to a lesser extent than the more heavily regulated Class A substances. Despite this classification, the penalties for possession, production, or distribution can include significant fines and/or imprisonment.
Is Monkey Dust Addiction Rising?
Yes, and it’s largely down to the fact that the substance is typically seen as ‘affordable’ compared to other street drugs – and it also has powerful effects. However, these effects can be unpredictable, making consuming this drug highly dangerous.
Individuals who use this substance are initially drawn to its ability to produce euphoria and heightened senses, particularly in social spaces. However, the negative aspects quickly become apparent.
The initial positive effects are overshadowed by severe negative reactions that pose dangers to the user and those around them.
This is because the substance affects the brain’s normal processes, causing the potential for someone to overestimate their abilities or lead to potentially harmful and violent tendencies. The government has reported that there has been a rise in aggressive behaviours, such as arson, and it’s linked to monkey dust use.
The substance’s strength can also widely vary, which only adds to its danger. In fact, even just a small amount can have severe or lasting effects on mental health.
In terms of addiction, this substance poses a complex challenge. Its addictive properties are not only physical but also psychological, making it difficult for individuals to break free from the cycle of initial euphoria followed by negative emotional states.
Overcoming monkey dust addiction often requires a comprehensive treatment approach that addresses both the physical dependence and the psychological impact of its use.
Common Misconceptions About Monkey Dust
One of the most common myths is that it is a safe or less harmful alternative to other street drugs. This is completely untrue, making it a dangerous misconception.
The chemical unpredictability and the severe psychological effects it induces, such as extreme paranoia and hallucinations, make it far more dangerous than many users initially believe.
Another widespread misconception is that monkey dust addiction is a matter of willpower and that users can simply choose to stop using the drug. Addiction, especially to substances as potent as monkey dust, is a serious medical condition that involves both physical and psychological dependence. Recovery typically requires professional intervention, comprehensive support, and often long-term relapse prevention treatment strategies.
Additionally, there’s a misconception regarding the visibility of monkey dust drug abuse, with some believing it can be easily spotted due to it being associated with aggressive behaviour that’s out of character. In reality, just like any form of drug addiction, it’s common for people to go to great lengths to hide their drug use. So, the signs of abuse can be subtle or mistaken for other issues, making it difficult for loved ones to recognise and address the problem.
Signs of Monkey Dust Use
If you suspect a loved one is using this substance, early intervention and support can make all the difference in terms of recovery. But, as we’ve highlighted earlier in this article, monkey dust is a type of drug that causes unpredictable effects, which makes it slightly harder to know whether someone has taken this synthetic drug.
As a general guide, individuals engaging in monkey dust use often may exhibit a range of physical and behavioural symptoms, including (but not limited to):
- Users might experience increased heart rate and high blood pressure. What can look like is excessive sweating and dilated pupils.
- Individuals may also display extreme paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions, leading to potentially dangerous actions.
- Irrational behaviour, agitation, aggression, and violent behaviour towards themselves or others, especially if it’s out of character, could be taken as a sign that someone is under the influence of monkey dust.
- Monkey dust users may also believe that they are invincible. So, what this can look like is putting themselves in harm’s way (e.g. jumping onto roads) because they genuinely believe nothing can happen to them.
- Significant mood swings, from euphoric highs to deep depression, are also common.
The Long-Term Dangers and Risks Associated With Monkey Dust Use
Monkey dust can have a serious impact on your physical health and mental health.
On a physical level, monkey dust use can trigger a dramatic increase in body temperature and induce serious cardiovascular issues, potentially leading to emergencies that are not just critical but, in some cases, fatal.
The psychological impact of monkey dust can also be serious. It’s common to experience lingering paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions, and seeing or hearing things that aren’t real. This not only places the individual in danger but also poses a significant threat to the safety of those around them, creating a wider circle of risk.
From a mental health perspective, monkey dust use can cause individuals to develop depression and anxiety disorders. Feeling a disconnection from reality can also happen, and it can be terrifying to experience – leading users to withdraw from social interactions and lose touch with friends and family.
The cycle of addiction to monkey dust can be particularly challenging to break due to its psychological grip on the user. The craving for the drug, coupled with the fear of withdrawal symptoms and the mental health issues it can cause, creates a vicious cycle that is hard to escape.
Support Options for Monkey Dust Addiction
For individuals struggling with Monkey Dust addiction, finding support can be the turning point towards recovery.
- Residential rehabilitation services: From detoxification programmes designed to safely manage withdrawal symptoms to comprehensive rehabilitation programmes that address both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction, residential treatment is a comprehensive approach to overcoming monkey dust addiction.
- Counselling and therapy: These forms of support help individuals understand the root causes of their drug use, develop coping strategies for dealing with stress and triggers, and rebuild their lives without reliance on substances. Psychological support is a core part of residential rehab, but it might also be a worthwhile treatment to continue with over the longer term.
- Support groups: A truly invaluable resource for individuals in recovery, online and physical support group meetings provide a sense of belonging and understanding to those who are in recovery. These groups offer a platform for sharing experiences, challenges, and achievements, creating a safe space that’s focused on mutual support and encouragement.
Seeking Support for Monkey Dust Addiction
Whether it’s for yourself or a loved one, if you’re worried about the possibility of a drug addiction, reach out to our team today.
At Asana Lodge, we offer comprehensive rehabilitation programmes that are personalised to suit the unique needs of each and every individual we treat. Call us on 01908 489 421 for more information about how we can support people with addiction.
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