Thursday 18 January 2018

Epidemic of Spice drug use was 'utterly predictable' following ban, says ex-drugs tsar

By Georgia Humphreys

Use of the drug in Manchester city centre has left scores of users rendered like “zombies” and passing out.

A former drugs tsar has claimed the epidemic of Spice use in UK cities such as Manchester was “utterly predictable” after a ban on the drug was introduced last year.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said they dealt with 58 Spice-related incidents between Friday and Sunday while scores of users of the drug in the city centre have been left rendered like “zombies” and passing out.

And Professor David Nutt, who used to work as chief drug adviser for the Government, has told The Independent the Spice trade has passed to street dealers since the drug was banned.

“It’s exactly what I warned about,” Prof Nutt said. “The whole thing was utterly predictable.

“The trade has passed from the head shops to the street dealers – and on the black market people don’t care whether their ‘customers’ live or die.”

Prof Nutt was famously sacked from his role as the Government’s chief drug adviser in 2009 after claiming that ecstasy and LSD were less dangerous than alcohol.

His comments on Spice come after third-generation synthetic cannabinoids – which are found in the legal high – were classified as a Class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act, back in December last year. This makes possession of the Spice drug illegal.

Effects of the drug can be extreme, causing hallucinations, psychosis, muscle weakness and paranoia.

There are viral videos which show some users of the drug left catatonic and twitching while standing up or slumped against walls or over bins or benches.

Chief Superintendent Wasim Chaudhry, from GMP’s city centre team, has said officers were doing all they could to tackle the issue – including increasing the number of specially-trained officers to help those using Spice to access support.

He described the issue as “a problem that we cannot afford to get any worse”.

Press Association

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