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New warning on danger of abuse of party drugs

By Mid Devon Gazette  |  Posted: December 17, 2013

By Gemma Mullin

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A DRUG action group in Devon has warned of the dangers of people abusing horse tranquilisers.

It comes after calls by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs to change the class of a party drug, better known as ketamine, from a Class C to a Class B.

Government advisors have found new evidence that frequent use of the drug could cause "severe and disabling" bladder damage.

Last month, a prolific thief from Bampton, who was recently released from prison, broke into a caravan while high on the drug.

Jonathan Parr, 29, of School Close, Bampton, pleaded guilty to burgling a mobile home on farmland in Oakford on November 10 and will return to Exeter Crown Court in January.

Det Con Paul Feeney, from Tiverton CID, said Parr had a drink and drug problem and he committed the offences while he was under the influence of ketamine.

The Devon Drug and Alcohol Service, which covers Exeter, East and Mid Devon, aims to facilitate change, prevent drug and alcohol misuse and criminal activity.

David Leeman, acting interim service manager at the service, said: "As with most drugs, ketamine is a very useful and helpful drug used as an anaesthetic both in medicine and veterinary care and has been for over 50 years.

"Its misuse, however, has grown over recent years and we have seen it used largely in the party and festival scene. It can give users hallucinations similar to LSD and some people report feeling detached from their bodies – an experience commonly referred to as a 'k-hole'.

"While ketamine is predominately seen as a party drug used in larger towns and cities by young people we have see it being used throughout Devon by people of all ages and backgrounds."

Mr Leeman also said that its use can cause significant bladder problems.

He said: "In some instances users have had their bladders removed due to the damage ketamine use has caused, which is a key reason for the recommendation by the ACMD for reclassification to a class B drug."

Mr Leeman said that someone having a bad experience on ketamine they should seek medical help and provide information about how much was used, when, and if they had used it before.

He said: "If people want help or someone to talk to about ketamine use or that of someone they know of, they should call Devon Drug Service on 01392 492360 and one of our drugs workers will be happy to help."

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