A teenage girl who was full of “dreams and aspirations” has died after taking ketamine at university, amid concern that the drug is becoming the party drug of choice for students.
Megan Pollitt, an 18-year-old law student with a “beautiful bright smile” moved 140 miles to start her new life at Cardiff University.
She collapsed at her university halls of residence on Saturday, dying in hospital four days later.
Last year, Public Health England voiced their concerns that young people are using the drug, which is often used as a horse tranquilliser, more frequently for partying.
Experts warned that many young people would be unaware of the health risks such as damage to the bladder, while it was quickly becoming the third most popular party drug after ecstasy and cocaine.
Home Office figures showed that in 2018, although drug seizures by police had fallen, the number of confiscations of ketamine had increased by 30 per cent.
The Government’s crime survey of England and Wales found that the proportion of 16 to 24-year-olds using the drug had risen to 3.1 per cent in the same year, the highest since records of ketamine use began.
A South Wales Police spokeswoman said: "Detectives are keeping an open mind and investigating the possibility that the drug ketamine might be a factor."
Ms Pollitt’s family from Rugby in Warwickshire, paid tribute to her, saying: "Meg dedicated her time to everyone around her and was always there for others.
"She had recently started studying law in Cardiff and was full of dreams and aspirations.
"Having moved away Meg still enjoyed close contact with family and friends, sharing stories and laughter through visits and calls.
"We will miss her beautiful bright smile and positive energy that would lift the spirits of anyone.
"Meg loved the outdoor space, particularly hiking with her Dad and her dog. She had recently climbed Snowdon and reached the summit.
"Meg also loved reading the classics, watching Anime and listening to music as well as supporting the Wasps rugby team.
"Meg will be missed and forever loved by her Mum and Dad, sister, grandparents and friends."
Bristol University students have already been made aware that a potentially dangerous batch of ketamine may be in circulation around the area.
In a statement, police said: “Users of controlled drugs are once again reminded that they should be aware that they can never be 100 per cent sure of exactly what they are taking.
“These drugs are illegal and there is every possibility that they may contain a cocktail of toxic ingredients”
Alison Golden, Director of Student Health and Inclusion told students: “Mixing drugs, including alcohol can be extremely dangerous. The effects will be exaggerated and it could prove fatal”.
The University of Bristol already provides funding for free drug testing kids through the Bristol Drugs Project, so that if students were to take drugs like ketamine, they are able to determine if they are laced with other chemicals.
According to the university they will also be using their Psychology department to test which interventions work well when engaging with students on their use of drugs.
This follows the deaths of four young people in Newcastle where ketamine and MDMA were suspected to be involved.
Following her death, South Wales Police said they have charged a 23-year-old man with drug offences.
Lanoi Liddell appeared at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday where he was remanded in custody.
Detective Chief Inspector Tom Moore, said: "Two families have been left devastated by these tragic events over the weekend and they are being supported by officers as we continue with our enquiries.”