Has The Spice Epidemic Ended In The UK?
The UK is suffering with high rates of drug addiction at present. The pandemic and the stresses of it led to a large number of people consuming more drugs and alcohol, and that has only continued with the cost-of-living crisis and current political climate.
The government are looking at funding in areas of the country that suffer most, with communities in England receiving over £300 million in additional funding over the coming years, as people struggle with the likes of cocaine and, most notably, opioids.
But what about spice?
Prior to the pandemic, the number of people struggling with spice addiction was incredibly high, particularly in the most deprived areas of the country and in the homeless. The synthetic cannabinoids which are known as spice are particularly potent and have often been described as a ‘zombie drug’ due to the notable side effects that sees people roam the street in a zombie-like state.
In the UK, the substance came to prominence in the media in 2017, with the problem hitting crisis levels. But does the problem still exist?
The answer is almost certainly yes and abuse of the substance has remained consistent over the last few years.
It is an alarming situation to this day, with addiction to the substance causing severe damage to people’s health, while there have been a number of reports of late in which people have died from it, including in Neath Port Talbot in Wales, where there’s a high number of deaths due to drug poisoning .
It’s becoming an increasing problem in prisons too according to a report by The Guardian. Researchers found that almost half of the “non natural” deaths in prisons between 2015 and 2020 could be attributed to spice, with the substance being smuggled in a real problem.
More action is being called for to try and prevent this in prisons, but that can be said for the wider country too, as spice is beginning to rear its ugly head once again alongside the ever-growing opioid crisis.
One report in a Birmingham local newspaper found that drug use in the city is growing, with a homeless man telling the reporter:
“It keeps us going; gets us through the day and gives us room to breath,”
“It’s a stress reliever. Being out here on the streets is seriously stressful. The winter is taxing on our bodies.”
That’s a similar story in many parts of the country, and unless more support is needed to help get people off the streets, then we can perhaps expect to see spice more prominent on the streets once again over the coming months and years.
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