Glastonbury 2014: Reveller dies in hospital after taking ketamine

A 67-year-old woman has also died of natural causes at the event

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The Independent Culture

A man has died after taking ketamine at Glastonbury Festival.

The music fan was taken into hospital after taking the drug and police said he was in a critical condition on Thursday evening.

A spokesman said: "Unfortunately the man taken ill after a suspected reaction to ketamine has died this morning. His family are aware and being supported."

The 26-year-old man, from Reading, has not been named.

Police have warned festival-goers not to take illegal drugs. An officer tweeted: “Please don't take drugs at Glasto.

“Ketamine and alcohol dangerously affect your heart and breathing. It can be deadly and you don't know what or how strong it is.”

Officers said they did not believe a bad batch of the drug was responsible and that the man had an "individual reaction".

The side-effects of ketamine can kill

Ketamine is a class B drug that is legally used in medicine and by vets as a tranquiliser.

It is used recreationally for feelings of euphoria but can cause paralysis, panic attacks, memory loss, bladder problems and bad reactions can kill.

It was upgraded from class C in February in the face of mounting evidence over its physical and psychological dangers.

Ministers were told that users as young as 20 had to have their bladders removed due to heavy consumption.

Figures from the Home Office estimate that 120,000 people between 16 and 59 in England and Wales took ketamine last year.

Anyone convicted of possessing the drug can be jailed for up to five years, while the maximum penalty for trafficking offences is 14 years in prison.

The man died as the first day official day of music got underway at Worthy Farm, in Somerset.

Police had arrested 30 people by Friday morning and 85 crimes were reported in the first 48 hours - 30 per cent down on last year.

Officers stressed that despite Glastonbury Festival's hippie reputation, there is a "zero tolerance policy" to illegal substances.

A statement from Avon and Somerset Police said: "No matter what myths you may have heard about police having a policy at Glastonbury of allowing people to smoke cannabis or take small amounts of other drugs – it is not true."

A 67-year-old woman died in her tent overnight on Wednesday but police are not investigating the death, which was believed to be of natural causes.