Health chief spells out the dangers of popular ‘club drug’
Bury's Director of Public Health is highlighting the risks linked to a dangerous 'club drug' which can leave users with irreversible bladder damage.
Nationally, there is evidence of a rising trend in young people using the drug ketamine. The illegal Class C drug is popular with clubbers because of its hallucinogenic effects, but its use is risky and can have some serious consequences to health that most young people may be unaware of.
Ketamine in its legal form is used in medicine as a powerful anaesthetic, but it is illegal to possess or sell it. In addition to the risks that come hand in hand with using a hallucinogenic drug, new evidence shows that the use of ketamine can lead to serious, even irreversible bladder damage. In some parts of the country, there is evidence of bladder damage being so significant that patients need to have their bladders surgically repaired, or even removed.
Dr. Peter Elton, Bury's Director of Public Health said: "We are seeing a worrying increase in the number of young people seeking help from local services after using ketamine. Sadly most people aren't aware that they are putting their health in jeopardy for a quick fix."
"Ketamine can be unpredictable. It's addictive and users develop a tolerance quickly, so they need more of the drug to get the same effects. The anaesthetic properties mean people don't feel pain properly - if they injure themselves they may not know they have been hurt. Longer term use can lead to memory loss, concentration problems and flashbacks. And if you have mental health problems, ketamine can make the symptoms worse."
"There is now evidence that using ketamine, even in the short term, can cause severe bladder damage, and sadly we are seeing people coming for help when the damage has already been done. Most people just don't know about the risks. Ketamine can lead to incontinence, blood in the urine and painful urinary infections in both men and women. I want people to realise that ketamine can do real harm."
Councillor Rishi Shori, cabinet member for adult care, health and well-being, added: "It is important for people to fully understand the risks of using drugs like ketamine and the potentially detrimental long term affect it can have on their health. Bury's Drug and Alcohol Team, which includes our partners in the Health and Police services, are working hard to educate people about the potential consequences of drug use and the devastating impacts it can have on users and their families."
Local people wanting help and advice about drug and alcohol use, should contact:
Bury Drug and Alcohol Service, Humphrey House, Angouleme Way, Bury, BL9 0EQ, 0161 253 6488.
For more information about the risks of using ketamine, visit:
Date: 31st May 2012
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