POLICE in St Helens will be hosting a Facebook Q&A today in a bid to highlight the dangers of Ketamine, as children as young as 12 from the town have been found to be taking the drug.

Ahead of the event the Star looks into the drug, its danger and how iu is blighting the lives of some young people in St Helens.

What is ketamine?

Ketamine is a Class B drug which means it is illegal to have for yourself, give away or sell and is sold as a grainy white or light brown powder.

It is highly addictive, often termed as a gateway drug to Class A drugs and possession can get you up to five years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.

What health effects does it have?

The effects of the drug can lead to increased heart rate and blood pressure, paralysis of the muscles and the mind’s loss of touch with reality. It can cause serious bladder problems that can be so serious that the bladder needs surgical repair or even removal.

It can also cause damage to the urinary tract, leading to incontinence and it can cause abdominal pain and liver damage.

Impact on St Helens

However, despite all these dangers reports are that a significant number of people are using the illegal drug in St Helens, particularly youths.

Temporary Inspector Jon Smith said: “We really want to focus on having a two-way engagement and highlight the damage that ketamine misuse has on people and what we have in place to help.

“We need people to come to us with their questions and we will answer them tonight at 6pm because it’s really important to tackle this now.

“The severity of the cases that come to our attention have been highlighted by the urology department and young persons team because the damage this is doing to people’s bodies and a lot are young people as well.

“One case saw a child as young as 12 on ketamine, so it’s a serious issue that needs awareness of both those using it, their loved ones and then we can work to combat this.

“I need to stress that ketamine causes serious bladder issues and addiction which can then obviously lead to people maybe feeling pushed into criminal exploitation and organised crime which we want to help everyone avoid.

“This may be a Class B drug but it’s a gateway one, it’s extremely addictive and can lead to people going on to heavier and even more dangerous drugs.

“We are coming to the community with this Facebook Q&A to have an open and honest conversation on the issue and highlight the importance, please come to us with your questions via messenger on St Helens Police Facebook page ahead of and during the Q&A and afterwards as well.”

The Facebook Q&A is being held tonight at 6pm until 8pm on St Helens Police Facebook page.

For help

Anyone concerned for loved ones can access help via the following:

  • For under 19s, contact the Young People’s Drug & Alcohol Team (YPDAAT) on 01744 675605 or visit www.sthelens.gov.uk/ypdaat
  • For adults aged 19 and over, contact Change, Grow, Live (CGL) on 01744 410752 or visit www.changegrowlive.org
  • If you believe ketamine is being dealt in your area, please contact Merseyside Police via the social media desk on X @MerPolCC or Facebook ‘Merseyside Police Contact Centre’.
  • You can also pass information via Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org