The drugs epidemic sweeping the UK right now is one that was ‘utterly predictable’, according to the Government’s former drugs tsar. Professor David Nutt said that the ‘zombie plague’ of Spice users that is being seen across UK cities is exactly what many experts feared would happen when the Government introduced the ‘legal high’ ban in May 2016.
Photos have been emerging in recent months showing users of the drug in a zombie-like state after taking the synthetic cannabinoid that was made illegal last year. As experts warned at the time, the sale of the drug has moved underground, and it has become even more potent than ever, resulting in users finding themselves in a catatonic state.
The Manchester crime commissioner, Tony Lloyd, has said that the ban has made it harder for police to intercept the deadly drug from reaching users. Police now have to target drug dealers instead of heading to the nearest headshop in order to stop the drug from getting to the end user; this is obviously more difficult and requires more police time.
Lloyd has now called on Home Secretary Amber Rudd to visit Manchester to see the impact the drug is having on emergency services in the area. He said the problem is much worse now than it was before the ban and that health services, police and ambulance services are all ‘really stretched’.
Professor Nutt said that the images of those under the influence of Spice are proof that the legal high ban is not working. He added, “It’s exactly what I warned about. 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.”
He went on to say, “It is incredibly frustrating, but the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice have completely closed their minds to the reality of what is going on – and have done for a very long time. They think the only response is banning substances. It is all heads in the sand, ‘drugs are bad, our policies are working’. They will never admit they got it wrong – but they have got it wrong.”
Across the country, people under the influence of Spice can be seen shuffling around or standing still, unable to move as the effects of the drug leave them incapacitated. One Manchester Evening News reporter described the Piccadilly Gardens area of the city as ‘hell on earth’, saying it was dominated by ‘pale, wasted figures caught in a Spice nightmare’.
The drug is a synthetic cannabinoid made to mimic the effects of cannabis, but one addict has described it as ‘like cannabis with the effect of heroin’. It is this that makes it so addictive and so dangerous.
The issue of Spice addiction is growing every day, and emergency services are being called out on a daily basis to deal with incidents linked to use of the drug. Studies have shown that ninety per cent of those sleeping on the streets of Manchester are Spice users, and one worker with the homeless said, “Things are reaching fever pitch … It’s a f***ing disaster zone.”
Professor Nutt and a number of other campaigners had called for the Government to halt the ban on legal highs in May 2016, warning at the time that it would cause untold problems across the UK, but their calls fell on deaf ears. At the time, Professor Nutt said, “The only people who will benefit, will be the [street] drug dealers. They will have a monopoly.”
It appears as though his predictions have, unfortunately, come true.
Source: (The Independent) Legal Highs and the Walking Zombies in Manchester