A PARTY drug which police say is highly dangerous and can ‘wreck lives’ is becoming a bigger problem in Chard than in London, it has been claimed.

Avon and Somerset Police last week revealed it has made 28 seizures of ketamine in the past year, with several of them in South Somerset.

Ketamine, also known as Special K, is a powerful anaesthetic used on humans and animals during operations but it has also become popular among festival-goers and young people.

Earlier this year it was upgraded from a Class C banned substance to the more serious Class B category.

Experts say ketamine can reduce sensations in the body and cause serious bladder problems.

A 26-year-old man died after suffering a reaction to the drug at this summer’s Glastonbury Festival.

Natalie Giles works with the drug and alcohol charity Swanswell, which was brought into the county by the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner’s office earlier this year.

Natalie, who is based in South Somerset, said: “Here in South Somerset there seems to be a problem with ketamine and heroin especially.

“Until very recently ketamine was a legal drug and because it is cheap and easy to get hold of, back in the 80s and 90s it was taken at free parties here.

“There is a bigger problem here with the drug than what I saw in London, where I worked for seven years, but it might be that people weren’t coming forward.

“They don’t want to be associated with heroin users.”

Chard beat manager Constable Paul Thomas said in his experience it was the younger generation who seemed to be taking it more.

He added: “It is coming into the country in quite large quantities and it’s an easily accessible drug which is quite cheap.

“It is a harmful drug that can shrink your bladder to the size of a walnut and users could end up with a colostomy bag for the rest of their lives.

“You see people wandering up and down the streets in town at night and the effect of the drug is so quick they don’t even have time to wipe it from under their noses.

“It is highly dangerous because it sends you into a trance, so you’re not really aware of your whereabouts – you could come into all sorts of danger.

“I think it will wreck quite a few lives because people aren’t aware of the lasting effects.

“We urge anyone with any information on who is supplying it to come forward.”

For help or advice about ketamine, email natalie.giles@avonandsomerset.police.uk

Or to report illegal drug use or dealing, phone police on 101.