Shropshire Star

Dangerously contaminated ketamine being sold in Shrewsbury linked to young people being hospitalised

A contaminated batch of powerful ketamine is being sold on the streets of Shrewsbury and several young people have ended up in hospital after taking the drug, health leaders have warned.

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Ketamine or 'ket' is a powerful anaesthetic and has become increasingly popular as a recreational drug.

Shropshire Council said there has been a "rapid increase" in hospital admissions related to ketamine use, citing a contaminated batch of the drug currently in circulation, good weather and the end of exam season as factors.

The council said in a statement that incidents have "been noted at The Quarry, Doctor’s Field, The Mount in Shrewsbury and other riverside locations, prompting additional concerns about river safety".

Some locations could be difficult for emergency services to access.

A spokesperson for West Midlands Ambulance Service says people should call 999 in an emergency if there is a risk to life or someone is unresponsive.

The spokesperson said: "Ketamine is a powerful anaesthetic and has become increasingly popular as a recreational drug.

"A contaminated batch is being sold in Shrewsbury. Even for regular users, this batch could make you seriously ill."

The Talk to Frank drug help website describes ketamine as being sold as a grainy white or light brown powder. It also has the street names Donkey Dust, Green, K, Ket, Special K, Super K, VitaminK, and Wonk.

Graham McGraw, contracts manager at Shropshire Council’s drug and alcohol support partners, We Are With You, said: “We know that ketamine has become a popular drug amongst young people, both nationally and locally in Shropshire. Our service is there to provide free and confidential advice to anybody who is concerned about their own substance use or somebody else’s.

“If you are a parent, carer or professional who works with young people, we would always recommend that you choose a good time to have a healthy and positive conversation without judgement. It is important that children and young people are fully informed of the risks and also that they have a safe person to talk to for support.

“The effects of ketamine can come on quickly, so we would recommend that young people know how to look out for their friends and have a plan to get help if they need it.”

Kirstie Hurst-Knight, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for children and education, said: “This is a concerning issue for young people, parents and carers, and we support the advice of our partners to be aware of the risks and for parents to have a conversation with their young people this weekend, ahead of any celebrations.

“If you have teenagers and young people at home, make sure that they know they can talk to you honestly and openly so that you can help them to be safe.”

People who need support for drug use can contact We Are With You Shropshire via 01743 294700 or use web chat here at