The UK has one of the highest levels of cocaine use in Britain

A drug linked to a spate of biting attacks in Ibiza is part of a new wave of synthetic substances hitting the world drug market, a UK charity has said.

Methylenedioxypyrovalerone, (MDPV), otherwise known as the 'Cannibal', appears to have entered the Spanish holiday island after recent reports of a number of tourists turning violent against hospital staff and police while high on the drug.

In one incident, a nurse at the San Antonio Health Centre said one patient became so aggressive that while he was being restrained he lashed out at one of the officers and bit his hand.

"They had to call back-up; there were eight officers at the scene in the end," she told local newspaper, Diario de Ibiza.

The cocaine-like drug is also thought to have been the same substance Rudy Eugene had taken when he chewed part of a man's face off in Miami in 2012.

Detectives in Ibiza are now trying to remove MDPV from the streets of popular resort San Antonio since the outbreak of extremely violent attacks.

Speaking to IBTimes UK, Ruth Goldsmith from charity, DrugScope, said: "I'm interested why they have particularly identified MDPV as people do not often know what they have taken."

Since 2008 and 2009 an influx of new psychoactive substances, (NPS), which imitate illegal drugs like cocaine and ecstasy, has entered the world drug market, according to the charity.

NPS drugs are categorised as synthetic cannabinoids, stimulants, downer/tranquiliser-type drugs and hallucinogenics.

MDPV is a powerful stimulant drug, which can be smoked, snorted or injected and causes out-of-body experiences. The effects can last up to a week and are said to cause extreme paranoia, psychosis, violent reactions, suicidal tendencies and an uncontrollable urge to bite.

In a recent EU opinion poll, one in 10 young people in the UK, aged between 15 and 24, admitted to taking a NPS over the last year.

EU drug poll
10% of young people in the UK said they had taken a new psychoactive substance

"These substances have been created in laboratories and are designed to mimic the effects of illegal drugs like ecstasy, cannabis and LSD, while circumventing drug legislation," said Harry Shapiro from DrugScope.

"They are often referred to as 'legal highs', although this is a misnomer, as many are now controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Users can be misled about what they're taking and may not know how strong it is and drinking alcohol on top of these substances – or other drugs – can be particularly dangerous."

MDPV is a Class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act.