Following a number of incidents in Manchester city centre, warnings have been issued around the use of the synthetic drug known as Spice.
According to Greater Manchester Police, a number of people have required medical treatment in the city during March and April and its use can lead to serious mental health issues.
Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust’s Achieve Salford Recovery Services are keen to communicate advice to those coming into contact with the drug, or people seeing others affected.
Spice is a nickname for herbal smoking compounds containing one or more of a group of drugs called ‘synthetic cannabinoids’.
There are hundreds of different synthetic cannabinoids, with some being more potent, more toxic and more dangerous than others. Recent samples in Manchester city centre have been found to contain a synthetic cannabinoid called AMB FUBINACA.
AMB FUBINACA is very potent and very toxic drug. There is no safe way of using this addictive and extremely dangerous substance.
Despite the disturbing effects, the vast majority of cases people smoking Spice will not require emergency treatment, but if there is any doubt, then please call 999 and ask for an ambulance if you witness someone under the influence of the drug.
Advice if you are using or considering using Spice:
- Sit down before you smoke Spice as you may lose your balance, fall over or pass out.
- Spice is potent even at very low doses.
- Don’t smoke Spice neat, always mix with tobacco.
Start any new batch with a tiny match head size test dose.
Advice if you witness someone using Spice:
- If someone is hallucinating, paranoid or anxious, take them somewhere quiet where they feel safe. Calm and reassure them.
- If you encounter someone having a seizure of fit, ensure the area is safe and there is nothing they could hurt themselves on. Don’t hold people down as this is dangerous: Call an ambulance.
- If a person taking Spice is flushed and their skin feels very hot, use a damp cloth on their skin and encourage them to drink water. If their symptoms are not settling after five minutes, call an ambulance.
- If the person is suffering with chest pains, sit them down in a calm environment and reassure them. Call an ambulance if you are concerned.
- If you witness someone suffering with severe vomiting, frothing at the mouth, severe headache, significant agitation or aggression, then monitor them and if they do not settle within 15 minutes, call an ambulance.
- If you encounter someone suffering with breathing difficulties, such as fast or shallow breathing, and this does not settle within five minutes, call an ambulance.
If you witness someone unconscious, approach very carefully. It can be risky to startle or frighten people intoxicated on Spice as this can lead to heart failure. If they can’t be woken by gentle shaking and calling; make sure they are lying on their side so they don’t choke on vomit and call an ambulance.
Look after people who have overdosed in the same way you would want them to look after you.
GMMH's Achieve Recovery Service can be accessed at The Orchard, Langley Road South, Salford, M6 6GU or by calling: 0161 358 1530.
For more information on the work Achieve carry out, click HERE