We have seen a reduction in the use of ‘Spice’, says drug service manager
'I think the police have done some great stuff to target the dealers,' says drug and alcohol wellbeing service manager
26 May, 2017 — By Alina Polianskaya
THERE have been 40 “Spice”-related arrests around the West End since January, but use of the dangerous synthetic cannabis is in decline, according to a charity worker.
Darren Glynn, manager at Drug and Alcohol Wellbeing Service (Daws), based in Soho, said the drug was less prevalent on the streets since it became illegal last year.
He said: “We have seen a reduction in Spice use because of the joint working – the police, the homeless, rough sleeping services and us, we all work together to deal with Spice use.
“I think the police have done some great stuff to target the dealers. It is very difficult to capture as it can be brought in to London in liquid form and then sprayed onto a flammable material here. In prisons there is a problem as it can’t be traced. It can’t be smelt.”
Spice overdoses, which often cause users to collapse into a semi-comatose state or become aggressive, have also reduced, he said.
Mr Glynn added: “When there is too much in the system the brain shuts down, the body shuts down and that’s when the ambulance is called. There has been a reduction in those types of statistics.
“The difficulty is when people say they use Spice, you don’t always know what they are actually using. It can be any range of things. Spice usually gets sprayed onto a burnable substance, but you never know the concentration or what is in it. It is not like drinking a beer. Someone smoking a single Spice joint could have loads of the psychoactive ingredient or not so much at all.”
The Daws is run by Blenheim and Turning Point charities. The latter has been based in Wardour Street for over 20 years and the service has seen the West End’s drug-scape change over many years. “There are people who work with us who still remember when the heroin scene was really bad in the 80s. There is a long history,” said Mr Glynn.
Describing what they do, Mr Glynn said: “We would call a psychosocial intervention. We would discuss issues they are facing and then we get them to look at their use and see how it is affecting their lives and those around them. We work with them. Not everyone who uses substances wants to stop, but usually when people come to us it is when we want to do something about it.”
They also refer people to another team, which helps them to detox from Spice in an in-patient setting.
Daws, which has other London offices, is open to all in Westminster, Kensington an Chelsea, and Hammersmith and Fulham.
They are happy to take self-referrals and can be reached on 0330 303 808 or via: wellbeing.turning-point.co.uk/centrallondon/