Often perceived as harmless fun, the use of “club drugs” such as “E”, “Special K” and “Meow Meow” are on the rise, and so are the health problems that follow.

Overall drug use has declined in England over the past 6 years; however, a soaring 6,486 people were treated for regular club drug substances, compared with 4,656 in 2005-06.

These substances include those regularly tested by Claritest, such as ecstasy, ketamine and methamphetamine; all of which cause serious physical and mental health problems, according to experts.

The National Treatment Agency (NTA) for Substance Misuse’s Chief Executive, Paul Hayes, said: “It is clear that some club drug users are developing serious health problems and even dependency”.

The NTA recently reported that club drug users make up just 2% of adults in treatment and 10% of young people in specialist services. Club drug users are often ‘highly educated, have jobs and are socially functional’, the report stated.

However, the NTA Chief Executive stated: “The numbers remain small compared to heroin and crack addiction, but services need to be geared up to meet these emerging needs.”

The NTA’s research indicates that ecstasy remains the most popular party drug, but the use of ketamine and mephedrone are on the rise, contributing most to the increase in those being treated for club drugs.