Across the weekend, reports of zombie-like users needing medical help in Manchester city centre saw 999 services put under immense pressure.
Greater Manchester Police took 58 Spice-related calls across the weekend and say they “cannot afford” for the situation to get any worse.
The synthetic drug causes users to lose control of their mind and bodies and many have been pictured sprawled in the street or walking through towns and cities in a zombie-like state.
Chief Superintendent Wasim Chaudhry from Greater Manchester Police’s City Centre team said: “We are doing all that we can to tackle the issue of people taking Spice in Greater Manchester. This is a problem that we cannot afford to get any worse.
“We have increased the number of specially trained officers to try and combat the issues and help those using Spice to access the support they need but to also ensure that danger of Spice is clearly communicated.
“Those who take spice are often left incapacitated or seriously ill need the help of our partners in the NHS and Ambulance Service. They can also become aggressive and become a danger to themselves and others.
“The truth is, tackling the issues caused by Spice is putting pressure on public services and is taking up a lot of our resources. Particularly in Manchester city centre.
“A multi-agency approach is the only way we can fight this battle. As a result we have been working with Manchester City Council’s Adults and Children’s Services, rough sleeper team, outreach teams and local charities as well as North West Ambulance Service and the NHS.”
On Friday there were 24 Spice related incidents, and 15 Dispersal Orders Issued. Three arrests were made for breach of dispersal orders. One person was arrested for assaulting paramedics. Ambulance crews were asked to attend eight incidents, as reported by the Manchester Evening News (MEN).
On Saturday there were 18 incidents. One person was arrested for breaching a direction to leave and another for assault. Two dispersal notices were issued and four incidents required paramedics to attend.
On Sunday there had been 16 incidents between 9am and 10pm. One dispersal order was issued. Two arrests were made, one for a public order offence, and one for obstructing police. Eleven Incidents involved Ambulances attending.
The damage caused by Spice was highlighted in the MEN with distressing scenes in and around Piccadilly Gardens .
People left in a stupor, stumbling around, or catatonic under the influence of the drug are now a regular sight.