A new hallucinogenic drug known as “Monkey Dust” has been found in Europe and Australia. Officials say it’s a potent offshoot of methamphetamine – but cheaper and with psychoactive components. It causes euphoria, paranoia, and even psychosis. It’s been popular in the UK for several years and has recently been spotted in Australia as well.

Monkey dust was first noticed as a drug that was being sold as “ecstasy” at large raves and music festivals in Europe. In Trent, England, a town with a serious pocket of homelessness and poverty, the drug is popular because it’s cheaper and more easily found than heroin or other addictive drugs.

Police compare the drug to substances like K2 and Spice, psychoactive substances that were once legal but now are criminalized and recognized as dangerous and deadly.

A report from Staffordshire, England described the crisis:

“The drug can be bought for as little as £2 per dose so (is) often attractive to those who are most vulnerable.

“The effects of the drug vary according to (an) individual’s tolerance, dose and what other substances have been taken. These include typically increased heart rate, fluctuations in body temperature, disorientation, increased energy, anxiety, delirium, and paranoia. Symptoms on comedown include cravings to re-dose, tiredness, and lethargy.”

For some reason, Staffordshire seems to be particularly afflicted with the drug. Staffordshire Police received an average of 10 calls a day related to “monkey dust” across the city and county from May to August 2018. Total, they responded to 950 incidents responded to in three months alone.

Like other “synthetic” drugs, it’s unclear where the influx has come from, but police point to the internet as a typical place where drug dealers find their supply.

In the US, only a few instances of “monkey dust” use have been officially reported, but that will probably change. International drug trafficking seems to be pushing the deadly and cheap drugs into the United States more often, and treatment centers are usually left to help the users detox when there is less of the substance to go around.