Children as young as three have needed hospital care in Lincolnshire after taking synthetic cannabinoids—the drug commonly known as ‘spice’ or ‘mamba’.
A Freedom of Information request to United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust revealed a total of 363 hospitalisations in the county since 2015.
Most shocking were the admissions of a three-year-old girl to Boston Pilgrim Hospital in 2015, and a three-year-old boy in 2017.
Overall, there were 51 cases involving young people aged 18 and under.
“A lot of young people who are hopeless, marginalised, and excluded are turning to oblivion via the cheapest possible option,” said Reverend Jeremy Cullimore of Lincoln’s St Mary-le-Wigford church.
A former soldier, Revd Cullimore has spent years helping the homeless of Lincoln and knows why they are particularly drawn to substances like the so-called ‘zombie drug’.
He said: “I know how bitingly cold it can be at 3am in the morning and I was out there with the very best protective clothing.
“Now if I’m out there in a pair of cheap trainers and wet socks, oblivion is a thing to be desired.”
What is spice?
Spice is a synthetic version of cannabis with much stronger and varied effects. Users can often appear unconscious or incoherent for prolonged periods of time, giving rise to the notion of zombies.
The FRANK drug education service says it has been linked to several deaths.
To combat the widespread use of the drug earlier this year, the City of Lincoln Council formed an intervention team comprising of the police, local businesses, and the Addaction charity.
Lincolnshire Police also launched their own dedicated city centre team to tackle spice dealing. They said: “This demonstrates our intention to continue to enforce against anyone who seeks to profit from the misery of others.”
Spice was originally manufactured to get around the illegal status of cannabis and was sold in some high street shops as a legal high. But, since the Psychoactive Substances Act came in to force in 2016, it too is now a Class B drug.
Spice hospitalisations in Lincolnshire