Exclusive: Substance misuse service to train 400 staff to deal with spice addiction

2 May 2019

A training centre in Sheffield for substance misuse has trained 400 public sector workers to deal with the increase of spice addiction.

Spice, a synthetic cannabis, is a class B drug and is known for having a ‘zombie like effect’ on its users.

Waypoint ran 20 half-day sessions, each accommodating 20 professionals. It was organised by Sheffield City Council as part of their multidisciplinary response.

Jan Mayor at Waypoint said: “We estimate there are approximately 200 dependent spice users in Sheffield. During these sessions we covered what spice is, how it differs from cannabis, how it causes dependence and the other harms and risks.

“We also covered why people use it and looked at how stigma can prevent people getting help.

“As well, we also covered first aid for emergencies, the police response, harm reduction messages and treatment clinics.”

The office for National Statistics shared that there has been 24 spice related deaths in the UK in 2017.

 

 

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Many spice users are homeless with it said to be a ‘cheap easy fix’, typically costing around five pound a fix, according to The Guardian.

Karen Awdhali, Head of Services at NoMad, which provides accommodation for the homeless said: “We had a project that worked with the street homeless, which focused on 6-7 people and two of them I would say used spice on a regular basis.

“I think the reason there is such an outcry about spice users is simply because it is visual in the city centre and so casts Sheffield in a bad light.

“From conversations I have had with people who may have used spice or know somebody who uses it, my main concern is that the reaction varies from person to person.

“It’s one of the most frightening drugs to use in my opinion as anything could happen to them and they wouldn’t be able to stop it.”

Sheffield has many drug services which help with recovery when the time is right for addicts to get help.

Karen added: “In Sheffield the support that is available to people that are homeless or misuse substances is second to none.”

In response to the Spice problem in the city centre, Sidney street services now offer a drop-in spice clinic on a Thursday afternoon.

The drop-in clinic started in July last year and received funding from Sheffield City Council’s annual drugs and alcohol treatment budget.

 

Written by Lauren Wilks

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