Users have shared their experiences of taking a so-called “zombie drug”, as the problem worsens in cities across the UK.
Daily Mail reporters visited Manchester, Birmingham and Lincoln to speak with users of the psychoactive drug ‘spice’ and local residents.
Known as a zombie drug because of the effect it has on people, Spice is highly addictive and using it can lead to hallucinations, psychosis, muscle weakness and paranoia.
In Lincoln, Debra Swain said she finds it intimidating walking past users as they stumble around looking lifeless.
The newspaper also spoke with a homeless woman in Birmingham who said the drug made her “black out” and not “remember much”.
“But that is why I still take it – because it helps me forget.
“Now I can’t get off it. I’m not normal unless I take it because I’m so addicted, I have the shakes, I start sweating and throwing up”, she said.
In Manchester, a doctor said he treats up to five people a week who become ill after taking spice.
“Within days you can become tolerant and need to take more.
“The withdrawal symptoms are similar to somebody coming off heroin, but Spice users become hooked much more quickly.”
Last month, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that there were 3,744 deaths from drug poisoning registered in 2016, the highest since comparable records began in 1993.
The ONS study found that deaths involving heroin and cocaine were at their highest level ever recorded.
Deaths involving psychoactive substances including spice also increased, with 123 deaths recorded last year.