Misuse of ‘Red Devil’ drug causing concern for Hastings and Rother police

Samples of the drug. Picture courtesy of Sussex Police SUS-180123-125538001
Samples of the drug. Picture courtesy of Sussex Police SUS-180123-125538001
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Police have raised concerns that a drug is being misused by young people in Hastings and Rother.

The drug, known as Red Devil, but medicinally called alprazolam and bearing the trade name of Xanax, can have serious side effects.

Police are warning that it should be avoided.

Earlier this month two boys and three girls were arrested in Bexhill on suspicion of causing criminal damage to a car, Sussex Police said.

One of the girls was found collapsed in the road with a broken nose, and both she and both boys became extremely aggressive when detained.

Another girl tried to stab herself with a fork and all those involved suffered temporary memory loss, police added.

It was established that they had consumed Xanax in conjunction with alcohol and cannabis.

Other cases of the drug being misused have been reported elsewhere in the district, including Battle.

When prescribed medicinally, it serves to relieve panic and anxiety.

A 17-year-old boy arrested on January 12 on suspicion of possessing class A, B and C drugs with intent to supply has been released under investigation. Items seized from him included Xanax.

Sergeant Chris Varrall, of Hastings and Rother police, said: “The consumption and distribution of any illicit substance will not be tolerated, especially when distributed to children.

“Fortunately hard work by local schools, the community and Sussex Police has resulted in the arrest of a boy suspected of distributing this drug before serious harm came to anyone.

“We will continue to work with local schools and youth groups concerning the dangerous side effects of Red Devil.”

Anyone with information concerning the consumption or distribution of the drug is urged to report details to police online or phone 101, quoting serial 540 of 12/01.

Alternatively they can visit the Crimestoppers website or contact the independent charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.