The drug known as Spice first shot to national attention in the Spring of 2017. Uploaded videos showed people on the ground in Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester or frozen like statues. However, the debilitating impact of the drug was first reported in 2015 when five students from Lancaster University were treated at a hospital after they took the drug.
Last month, Marc Jones Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner made an appeal to the Home Office to make Spice and drugs similar to it as a class A drug. He wants the dealers who are pushing this drug to be lumped together with heroin dealers. Commissioner Jones said that spice was the biggest threat to public health in the past 10 years.
Spice has resulted in deaths nationwide and its use has been increasing in towns, villages and cities across the UK.
The users of the drugs are located all over the UK, especially in high social deprivation areas. People who are homeless, unemployed or dealing with relationship problems are the ones most affected by this drug.
According to experts, spice isn’t fashionable with the younger demographics because they see it as a “dirty” street drug, unlike the glamorous perception of narcotics like ecstasy. Spice has become a problem in cities like Blackpool, Bristol, Belfast, Wrexham, Aberdeen, Kilmarnock, Glasgow, Hull and Birmingham. This month, Doncaster was in the national news when locals were referring to the town of South Yorkshire as ‘spice-caster’.
There are a number of reasons why it is difficult to get a handle on the precise numbers of spice users in the UK. Since it is a new drug, people who don’t show up in public health statistics like prisoners are the ones who mostly use it.
Spice is in the category of drugs referred to as new psychoactive substances (NPS). In 2017, 61 people died from NPS, which according to official government stats, is a “statistically significant” fall from the 123 deaths reported in 2016. Yet again, the official stats aren’t fully accurate for figuring out how many people are actually on the drug. Spice is only one of the NPS to show up on the streets with any regularity.