A man has been arrested on suspicion of poisoning and supplying a controlled drug in connection with an incident where eight men were taken to hospital this week.
Two men are in a serious condition.
Kent Police received a report of a disturbance at a property in Westgate-on-Sea on Monday (January 22) at around 2am.
When officers arrived at the property in Station Road they found several people who had fallen ill and were suffering seizures.Paramedics from the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAMB) were called and the men were taken to hospital.
At around 4pm on Tuesday 23 January police were called to a concern for a man at a property near to Station Road. He was also taken to hospital
Police were also called on the same day to Margate Road in Margate at 8.07am to a report of a man causing a disturbance on a bus and he was taken to hospital for treatment.
A Kent Police spokesman said: “Police was informed by SECAMB of further, similar, reports and officers believe these incidents may be linked. In total eight people were in hospital, two of whom remain in a critical condition.”
It is understood that 5 of the men are now home from hospital.
A Birchington dad, who was one of the eight, issued a warning yesterday (January 25) for people to steer clear of a drug he said was being sold as MDMA but that he believed to be crystallised Spice.
Charlie, who asked we did not identify him further, says the effects of the drug can be lethal.
He had been at his flat with seven friends, from Westgate, Birchington and Garlinge, on Sunday night when they all took the drug. They all suffered seizures, with at least two becoming unconscious. An eighth friend went home and was found on Tuesday and taken to hospital, still having seizures.
Charlie said at least one man from the group is in a coma and on life support..
Charlie said: “I definitely won’t be doing it again. I think it was Spice, there was some made in Manchester and about 10 people were taken to hospital and some are in intensive care. I think it is the same stuff, it looks exactly the same as MDMA, like brown sugar, and even smells the same but I have never taken anything that messes with you like that did.
“I think there is quite a lot of it in Thanet and people need to know before someone else drops from it.”
In Manchester 4 people ended up in intensive care after taking the substance. Greater Manchester police said it was the first time officers had seen crystallised spice and said it was potent and unrefined with ‘life-threatening’ side effects. Officers said it was being mistaken for MDMA.
Two other cases of people in Thanet being taken to hospital after taking MDMA have also been reported this month.
A 33-year-old man from Birchington has been arrested on suspicion of poisoning and supplying a controlled drug. He remains in police custody while enquiries continue into the circumstances of these incidents.
What is MDMA?
MDMA is a synthetic drug that alters mood and perception, it is a type of ecstasy.
High doses of MDMA can affect the body’s ability to regulate temperature. This can lead to a spike in body temperature that can occasionally result in liver, kidney, or heart failure or even death.
What is Spice?
Spice is a mix of herbs and man-made chemicals with mind-altering effects. It is often called “synthetic marijuana” or “fake weed” because some of the chemicals in it are similar to ones in cannabis; but its effects are sometimes very different and frequently much stronger.
Many of the active chemicals most frequently found in Spice are illegal but the people who make these products try to avoid the laws by using different chemicals in their mixtures.
Last May a ban on legal highs came into force in the UK, making it a crime to produce, distribute, sell or supply the substance if intended for human consumption.
Those who make up the drug try to get around this by changing the ingredients.
Spice can be addictive. There are reports of people having heart attacks and strokes – and even dying – after taking the drug. Cases have also been reported of kidney and liver damage and severe psychosis.
Families Anonymous is based on the same principles as Alcoholics Anonymous. It runs local support groups for family and friends of people with a drug problem.
Helpline number: 0845 1200 660