Ecstasy pills, which contain MDMA as their main chemical, are pictured in this undated handout photo courtesy of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). REUTERS/U.S. DEA/Handout via Reuters

Durban - The resurgence of popular ’90s party drug ecstasy could explain the discovery of nearly 1kg of ketamine by police in raids in Durban over the past six months.

Illegal drug users sometimes mix ketamine - an animal anaesthetic drug administered by vets - with ecstasy.

It has also been used by poachers to knock out rhinos.

Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said police had recovered 846g of ketamine from July to December.

A drug expert and senior information officer at the South African National Council of Alcoholism in Durban, Claire Savage, said although recent research had not been done on ketamine use, “it is a very potent drug that is not suitable for human consumption”.

“Ketamine is usually mixed with ecstasy tablets; it cannot be taken on its own because it is extremely dangerous and mis-dosage can have dire consequences.” She also said that 1kg was a very large amount.

Savage said polydrug use, in which more than one drug were mixed together and taken at the same time, had increased dramatically since 2005.

“We have seen a huge increase in people who are mixing different kinds of drugs.”

Sam Pillay, head of Anti Drug Forum Durban, said that in the drug world, there was always something new being introduced. “There are no set formulas that drug users stick to, so they try anything that will give them what they are looking for,” he said.

Over the past weekend, drugs with an estimated street value of R46 500 were seized in police raids in Seaview and Chatsworth. Two allegedly notorious drug dealers were arrested, said Zwane

“They are expected to appear in court soon.”

In the past six months, the Durban flying squad’s narcotics task team had seized drugs worth thousands of rand, including heroin, rock cocaine, ecstasy and dagga.

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