400 professionals across Sheffield have received training in how to deal with people who use notorious ‘zombie’ drug Spice.
Over the last few months, drug workers, midwives, social workers, hospital and housing staff have all received the training, which was organised by the Sheffield Drug and Alcohol Coordination Team.
The training focuses on how to reduce the harm caused by Spice users to themselves and others, as a first step in getting them to stop entirely.
Delivered by Waypoint Training Services, a department of drug and alcohol charity, Project 6, it was designed by a range of organisations with on the ground knowledge of the issue, including South Yorkshire Police and the Yorkshire Ambulance Service.
Waypoint’s manager, Jan Mayor, said: “We hope the training will challenge the sense of hopelessness and negativity and allow workers to see that not only can we reduce the harm caused but also that we have the skills and resources to help people stop using.”
“In the meantime it’s crucially important that we give workers good harm reduction advice so they can help people to look after themselves until they’re ready to make the changes.”
Jan said that there were only about 200 dependent Spice users in Sheffield, but because they were highly visible, it created and impression that the problem was ‘out of control’.
She said she knew that three people in the city had already detoxed and were on the road to recovery and they believe they can help many more people achieve this.
Vicki Beere, CEO of Project 6, said: “It’s part of our role to reduce stigma amongst people and families who use substances.
“This reduces the barriers that people can face to access services and make positive changes which has a benefit to them, their families and the communities.
“Being able to give clear, harm reduction advice is absolutely critical to this and literally saves lives.
“The latest media campaigns attacking harm reduction approaches are trying to take us back to the 1980s and we will challenge this through promoting compassion for people who are struggling at every opportunity.”