Sheffield's Spice issue: 'We shouldn't have to explain to our children why people are slumped on the streets'

The Star's Sam Cooper in Sheffield city centre.
The Star's Sam Cooper in Sheffield city centre.
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Spice is a worrying problem blighting Sheffield and is not straightforward to deal with.

Those are the words of South Yorkshire Police’s Chief Constable.

The drug leaves people in a 'zombie-like' state.

The drug leaves people in a 'zombie-like' state.

And walking around the city centre on a busy Wednesday lunchtime, as families head to enjoy Sheffield by the Seaside, it is clear to see we really do have a problem.

We shouldn’t have to explain to our children when we bring them to events why there are people slumped on the city’s streets.

The former legal high, which was reclassified as a Class B drug in 2016, leaves users in an almost ‘zombie-like’ state.

It took less than a 60-second walk from The Star’s offices on Pinfold Street to see the clearly visible effects the drug has.

Two men were slumped on steps outside the former Stonehouse pub on High Street.

That is one of the reasons this drug is causing so many problems on the streets of our city – its effects are so visible.

Sheffield is not alone in being faced with the issue – and it is certainly not something that has just started.

The fact that Sheffield Council has set up a dedicated walk-in centre specifically for Spice users tells us that much.

READ MORE: Police working to clamp down on 'difficult' issue of Spice in Sheffield city centre

But one the most disappointing things is it seems to have reached epidemic levels at a time when our city centre should be attracting families and visitors as it basks in the summer heatwave.

And visitors to the city, maybe even potential investors, shouldn’t be greeted with the devastating effects of this drug.

Walking around the city centre it seems to be a problem affecting Sheffield’s most vulnerable.

And more often than not, they have an awful background story to tell as to why they have, quite literally, been left lying in the gutter.

But what can we do to stop it and help those addicted to the drug?

As Chief Con Watson said Spice is not just blighting our city, it’s putting more strain on our already under strain emergency services.

From what I saw, most of these people are desperate and Mr Watson is right when he says education is the answer.

We need to demonstrate to those considering taking the drug the devastating effects it can have.

It leaves its users literally helpless, unable to function and extremely vulnerable.

Hopefully, the shocking pictures we’ve published will be part of the education process which will help rid our city of this awful scourge.