What is Monkey Dust Addiction? Effects and How to Get Help

What is Monkey Dust? 

Monkey dust is a synthetic drug — also known as Butylone, M1, magic crystals, bath salts, MDPV, methylone, and pyrovalerone — that is chemically similar to amphetamines, and from a family of drugs known as cathinone, an ingredient derived from the khat plant. Khat has been cultivated in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula for thousands of years, commonly chewed for its euphoric effect.

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Most cathinone is sold as either a fine white, off-white or yellowish powder that is snorted, wrapped in paper swallowed, or smoked. In rare cases, cathinone has been injected. 

What Are the Negative Effects of Monkey Dust Addiction?

The effects of monkey dust are intense and long-lasting. The powerful high produced by the drug can last for up to 12 hours. Cathinones such as monkey dust have similar make-ups and effects to amphetamines such as amphetamine itself (speed) and MDMA (ecstasy). As such, the negative effects of the cathinone family are also considered to be similar to those of amphetamines and MDMA. 

Monkey dust effects include, but are not limited to, increased: 

  • sense of euphoria
  • energy
  • stimulation
  • empathy
  • alertness
  • awareness of senses
  • heart rate
  • blood pressure
  • sweating
  • anxiety
  • paranoia

How long the effects last depends on how much someone has taken, physicality, and any other drugs that might be in someone’s system. 

Signs and Symptoms of Monkey Dust Abuse

If you are concerned about yourself or someone else, there are some visible signs of addiction to look out for. In addition to the wanted euphoric effects, monkey dust abuse can also cause hallucinations, paranoia, irrational behaviour, risk-taking, hiding drugs, lying about drug use or frequency of use, mixing drugs, and increases in aggression and violence. Violent reactions may be due both to the chemical effects of monkey dust on the brain and to the lack of control the user has over their behaviour due to the potency of the drug. There have been several cases of monkey dust-induced violent attacks in the UK and the US.

What Are the Negative Effects of Monkey Dust Addiction?

If someone is abusing monkey dust, they may develop an addiction. Any substance use disorder involves heavy or frequent consumption of a drug despite the negative consequences. These might be emotional distress, physical harm, health problems, job loss, and estrangement from family and friends.

If you are using monkey dust to excess over time, you are in danger of developing a dependence. This means you may feel as if you need increasing amounts of monkey dust to experience the same effect, and if you go on to develop a dependency, you may feel unable to function or survive without it.

Any addiction is characterised by this dependence or tolerance and withdrawal symptoms if monkey dust abuse is suddenly stopped. Depending on the frequency and amount consumed, use should not be discontinued abruptly due to the risk of triggering this withdrawal syndrome. A synthetic cathinone such as monkey dust can cause strong withdrawal symptoms that include depression, anxiety, tremors, problems sleeping, and paranoia.

How is Monkey Dust Addiction Formed?

Drug dependence can develop due to several factors such as genetics, culture, and personal psychology.


Someone’s genetic makeup can affect the risk of dependence. Addiction has long been shown to run in families, and although genetics affect risk, there is no addiction gene, and both environmental and social factors contribute heavily to someone developing an addiction. 

What is Monkey Dust


Cultural influences such as family environments and societal beliefs regarding drug use can affect whether someone develops an addiction. In addition, family plays a significant role in a person’s likelihood of developing a substance use disorder. Parental addiction is associated with an increased risk of children also developing a substance use disorder

Personal Psychology

Differing psychological factors may increase the chances of addiction particularly if someone is struggling with a co-occurring disorder such as depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Trauma and co-occurring disorders greatly increase the risk of addiction.

Does Monkey Dust Abuse Make You Cannibalistic?

More research needs to be done on monkey dust abuse before cannibalism can be confirmed as a side effect. Most information on the drug is found in the media which can spread misinformation. There is anecdotal evidence reported in the press of ‘face-eating attacks’ in the USA where the drug has been called ‘cannibal dust.’ Increased aggression and physical strength are side-effects of the drug which can lead the person under the influence of monkey dust to want to harm themselves or others. 

Does Monkey Dust Give You Superhuman Strength?

Psychotic behaviour and seemingly superhuman strength due to the inability to feel pain have been witnessed as side effects of monkey dust. As an example, when dealing with someone under the influence of monkey dust, police have reported needing several officers to restrain them. In 2022, Jack Bereton, a British Conservative Party politician who is the Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent South stated in a drug reclassification debate that in his constituency, a user of monkey dust actively ate through a glass window of a local shop.

Treatment for Monkey Dust Addiction

Whatever your background, age, religion, gender, and sexual identification, if you are struggling with an addiction to monkey dust treatment for addiction can help you. The benefits of addiction treatment include:

  • therapies that target specific causes of addiction and help 
  • relapse prevention
  • a clinically proven approach that produces lasting results
  • learning to cope more effectively with life’s ups and downs 
  • quality care from clinical psychiatrists, doctors, and nurses who provide round-the-clock support, make thorough assessments to ensure treatment plans are focused and make appropriate diagnoses 
  • a chance to build healthy and open relationships with peers and therapy teams that are based on trust 
  • An Introduction to 12-step Recovery 


Before treatment starts, you may need to go through a detoxification process. This will depend on monkey dust use and a clinical evaluation will help you understand the safest path for you to find sobriety. Medical detox offers supervision and medication to help you through the withdrawal process. This is often the best option if you also struggle with dependence on another substance which, if stopped abruptly, could lead to complications.


Following a detox (if necessary), the most effective treatment for the chronic illness of addiction and finding long-term recovery is an abstinence-based programme. Specialised residential treatment will provide you with an expert team that develops a personalised care plan to meet your specific needs. This may include a combination of medical treatments, individual and group therapy, alongside complementary therapies.

Individual therapy 

Individual therapy may include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) which is widely used in addiction treatment, Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) if you are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), grief therapy if you have recently experienced a loss and complementary therapies to support mental, physical, and spiritual health.

Group counselling

Group counselling enhances self-awareness through the shared experiences and openness of other clients in treatment. Clients work together, empathise and support each other, and the positive change seen in others inspires hope. Facilitated by a trained therapist, group work is an integral part of a treatment programme. The insights and feedback from the group help deepen your understanding of your addiction.

Family therapy 

The more a family knows about addiction, the better placed they are to offer the right support and the better chance you have of finding lasting recovery. However, addiction is a family illness and it is common for support networks to need support themselves. Family therapy programmes help clients and their families to connect and share their feelings, rebuild damaged relationships, communicate effectively, and understand the disease of addiction.


To prevent relapse, it is important to build on all you have achieved in treatment. An aftercare programme can help with a smooth transition back into everyday life, identifying relapse triggers, learning to manage stress and cravings, and developing support networks. 

Addiction Treatment at Castle Craig

Castle Craig is one of the world’s most renowned residential alcohol and drug rehab clinics and we are rated ‘exceptional’ by our hospital regulators. Our alcohol and drug treatment programme has been carefully constructed with decades of professional and practical experience and applies to clients from all walks of life suffering from addiction.

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to monkey dust, our helpful team of dedicated professionals is here to let you know more about Castle Craig’s drug treatment programme. Please call our 24-Hour Helpline: 0808 271 7500.

What is Monkey Dust


Is Monkey Dust Spice?

Monkey dust is not the same as a spice. Spice is a synthetic cannabinoid which causes similar effects to potent marijuana. Monkey dust is a stimulant which is similar to MDMA, cocaine and methamphetamines.

What Is the Smell of Monkey Dust?

Monkey dust does not have a distinct smell, however, anecdotal evidence has shown that monkey dust can cause users to smell like vinegar, prawns, or urine. 

How Does Monkey Dust Make You Feel?

Monkey dust can evoke a sense of euphoria, feelings of empathy as well as increased alertness and talkativeness. It can also dampen perceptions of pain and cause hallucinations. 

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