Seizures of illegal ‘party drug’ ketamine increase three-fold in just 12 months

Seizures of the potentially deadly tranquilliser ketamine more than tripled last year as its popularity as a party drug continued to grow, new figures have shown.

Police and border officials seized 537lbs (244 kilograms) of the drug in England and Wales in 2012-13, compared with 176lbs (80kg) the year before.

Ketamine, a veterinary anaesthetic used on horses and other large animals, is a Class C drug carrying lower penalties than harder drugs such as heroin or crack.

But experts have warned it is being used as a recreational drug in the club scene despite serious health threats. Dubbed “Special K” by its users, ketamine can lead to irreversible bladder damage and even death.

Last year Vicky Unwin, whose daughter Louise, 21, was found dead in her east London flat after taking ketamine, said there must be better education so young people know the risks associated with the drug.

Home Office figures on drug seizures also showed three tonnes of cocaine were seized last year, down half a tonne on the previous year.

There was also a 43 per cent decrease in the amount of cannabis seized year-on-year.

Seizures of amphetamines rose 30 per cent to 1.4 tonnes.

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