Hard work of police and drug workers continuing to rid Sheffield of Spice

Spice is continuing to blight the streets of Sheffield as police and dedicated drug workers work hard to support those addicted to the former legal high.

Thursday, 23rd August 2018, 1:52 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd August 2018, 1:55 pm
A suspected Spicer user on Campo Lane. Picture: Bob Westerdale.

The non-opiate treatment service on Sidney Street in the city centre opened up a specialist Spice clinic around a month ago, in direct response to the growing problem.

In that time they have already helped a number of people, and have notched up some notable successes, including one user who has gone back to work after receiving help.

And Chief Constable Stephen Watson said education was the answer to halting the rising tide but warned the problem was not a straightforward tone to solve.

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Chief Con Watson said the former legal high, which was re-criminalised as a class B drug in 2016, was 'blighting' city and town centres across the county.

He said it had also prompted a lot of concern from the public as it leads to users being left in a zombie-like state.

Chief Con Watson said: "Spice is a really difficult issue and it's one that I, personally, am concerned about. I have been out on patrol with officers in the town and city centres and have found myself literally pulling some chap up from the gutter who has been lying on his face.

"When you come across these people, who frankly, have been stupid enough to have consumed Spice, it creates in them this sort of zombie-like state which is very visible and quite distressing for members of the public and also puts the individual at huge risk of vulnerability because they have rendered themselves completely helpless."

Helen Phillips-Jackson, strategic commissioning manager for drugs and alcohol at Sheffield Council, said: 'One of the messages that we want to get across is that it is not helpful to take and publish pictures of people collapsed in the street.

'We are not trying to downplay the seriousness of it or cover it up but it just increases the stigma.

Workers at the clinic estimated that around 200 people were using the drug in and around Sheffield city centre - about 0.03 per cent of the population of the city.

'It is very visible because many users spend a lot of time in the city centre and because of that people think it is an epidemic - but it isn't,' said Helen.

'We know there is a big focus on Spice use in the Star and it is shocking to see some of the physical manifestations of it - we understand that people feel distressed by that.'