Over the past few days, weeks I have been bubbling with fury over recent press articles namely by the Sheffield star and other scare mongers, who are using the use and availability of SPICE as an opportunity to sell more papers or to donate to their fundraising efforts to they can save the fucking world, and rid the earth of anything bad., imoral or not nice to see.n BULL FUCKING SHIT, im seriously ready to blow and seeing was this is my platform, I can say the fuck what I want and get this fucking burning burden off me chest.
Here’s a little story alot of people dont know….
So here goes, a long time ago before SPICE as we know it now, used to be a ten penny mix of sweets from the local shop, many of the bags were pre-wrapped, so it was a lucky dip and you never knew if you were going to get ya fave sweet or not. There was none of that health and safety bollox back then, not of that, wearing gloves when handling someone else’s soon to be food, fit for human consumption, nah none of that!
Now not so long ago in Sheffield, in the most random of places, Sheffield had some new “head” shops in town, they sold mainly cannabis related paraphernalia, but has also started selling, some “New Shiny little bags of special high” now this stuff was legal, It was called synthetic cannabis, none of that home grown natural shit, nah this was fucking better than that, these shiny little bags of magic were marketed based on how they recreated similar effects, to drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy. In Sheffield, we had a number of these shops popping up, fuck me even some of the same newsagents, where you might have bought them “good old bags of 10p spice” were selling them! AND making more fucking profit than back in the good old days.
I mean it was getting bad, it was bad in the local communities, but it was also getting really back in the city centre too, young people who were coming into town to access the local youth services, were presenting “off their nuts” but hey its ok “its legal”. Local shops were laying it on, asking for passports or something of value, phones, in return for one of them Shiny little bags of special high. I mean Fuck me they would be queuing outside the shop ready for it to open in a morning.
Bit like that bench outside the Cathedral in town, waiting for a dealer to come along to sell his wares. ( I digress)
Now I don’t know about you, but there were some people in Sheffield manly youth services, drugs services, schools who were getting really concerned about this, they were getting reports these packets of shiny bags in local parks alongside the discarded empty cans of lager after a wake of antisocial behaviour on the local community and with raising concerns from family members about their loved ones “kids” 13 -16 years old taking this so called “legal high” trust me there were alot of grave concerns out there and justified.
Sales of these products at the time were a real legal grey area. These products were actually branded ‘Not For Human Consumption’ but were being sold as plant food, bath salts, herbal incense and room odourisers amongst other things. YES you read that right! shops were selling this to young people. And guess what, they weren’t advertising it as the “next new deodorant or perfume” nah, even though they wasn’t “fit for human consumption” this shit was being sold, with advice on how to smoke it!
The branding and marketing was BRILLIANT brands included names such as Clockwork Orange, Haze, Annihilation, Spice, Doob and Blue Cheese, I mean the names changed all the time, ALL claiming to get you higher that the last brand. Ooooops sorry I mean not high, “just smelling nicer”
Some departments in the council, safeguarding, trading standards, drugs services, police, young peoples A&E decided to do something about this. YES they actually did something!
So it was legal to sell, but only if the packaging clearly stated “NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION” So Sheffield very own trading standards team, would regularly be doing visits to these shops to check that they adhered to the guidance. Guess what? A lot of them were not! In fact a-lot of these small little local supermarkets, were also found to be selling contraband or fake alcohol and cigs too, This was a BIG earner and starting to become a BIG issue in Sheffield.
With the concerns around child welfare, young peoples drugs services in conjunction with children safeguarding team, started to visit “these innocent shops” trying to engage with them and trying to appeal to their better nature and discourage them from selling these products to young people. To be fair the majority of shops came on board and would hand out the harm reduction messages (created by our workers) to all the young people they sold the drugs to, remember at this point “they are STILL LEGAL” these shop are NOT BREAKING the law.
We did partnership operations, doing week long enforcement with the shops, services were in schools delivering drugs education about these “new shiny bags” ya know those that are NOT FIT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION but are still being peddled legally in local shops, the same shops were you could buy your bread and milk. We had pop us stalls near to the shops, stopping and talking to members of the public, trying to raise awareness about this “new legal high”. I mean fuck me we even had reports of a local petrol station selling them. All branded up on display, just like them packets of peanuts you get from shop, displayed on a strip of cardboard waiting to be sold to people who were looking for their “next legal high”
In fact ironically a couple of years into the selling of these products the police and council, started to get reports and complaints from these very same shops selling this shit! about antisocial behaviour, in and outside the premises, some shops even ranked up the prices to put off the customer tha were becoming troublesome, some people might say that actually “these troublesome customers were now dependant on the SHIT that the shops were selling?” Now did they stop selling it? NO, why not I hear you say? “because it was BIG business and trust me these shops were earning a Bomb”.
The Psychoactive Substances Act came into force on 26 May 2016 , making it illegal to produce, supply, import or export a psychoactive substance that is likely to be used to get high.
Now as you can imagine, agencies families, parents were very relieved. Was it going to stop kids seeking a new high? NO, was it going to stop young people experimenting ? NO, But at least it went some way to minimise access and guess what? Reports of young people using the substances dropped.
Now lets fast forward a couple of years, the shiny branded packets of plant food, bath salts, herbal incense don’t really exist, the names just serve to confuse people and to be fair who gives a fuck if you call it Clockwork Orange, Haze, Annihilation, Spice, Doob and Blue Cheese, nowadays its sold in very small wraps or bags, it can be ready bought in a rolled up spliff, and is generally known as SPICE or MAMBER, the name just depends on where you live. Its got fuck all to do with the product, but for the user, the person who is dependant, not just on SPICE but on ANY kind of substance that will get then off their nuts, take them some where far away from who they are, its worth every penny.
Now a days, we have gone from young kids queuing waiting for the shops to open, to have some gear laid on, to grown as adults, queuing outside some where to buy this cheap as chips “gold dust” that will take them to oblivion and back for just a fiver. That same gold dust that is 500 times stronger than cannabis, that same gold dust that is earning someone a small fortune, albeit at the expense of someone else soul.
Now I don’t know about you, but this SPICE worries not just me, just EVERYONE, in particular the city centre, from your local independent shop to your giant corporations. It worries innocent shoppers, workers who frequent the city centre, because quite frankly “Not one human being likes to see another human being in distress”. All the workers and staff right from the local Macdonalds, to support services like Archer project, Bens centre, to city centre ambassadors and police are working their damnedest to tackle this growing problem. A problem thats not just in Sheffield, but across the UK, Europe in fact everywhere. They are not just trying to eliminate SPICE or any other drug just because “it offends or scares Joe public when they come into the city centre” they are working and trying their best to manage something that quite frankly cannot be eliminated, but managed. Just like, alcohol and all the health and social problems that, that causes our communities, and services. Just like Heroin, Crack, Coke that are still around, but not as visable or should i say, more “socially acceptable”.
It doesn’t matter what drug it is, one minute someone can be using it recreationally, for that odd escape from reality then BAM they are dependant on the fucking stuff. And quite frankly I’m not surprised, after all society these days are so quick to jump on the idealistic, socially acceptable bandwagon and blame everyone, the council, the police, or anyone else for a problem that quite frankly is EVERYONES PROBLEM, because the FACT is anyone, regardless of social status can succumb to addiction. For everyone spouting “its a disgrace” or “more should be done” ask yourself “do you know someone who had a problem with or does a little too much, cannabis? Coke, Alcohol?” I think I can safely say the majority of you “will know someone” do you still love them? Of course you fucking do! Would you do anything to try and help them? Of course you fucking would!
Well NEWS FLASH so do all the same services that get slagged off via social media in the press and to be perfectly honest all the substance misuse services are doing a grand fucking job, YET despite cuts to services over the years they are like they have been for years, supporting people with problems with alcohol, Crack, heroin, cannabis YES cannabis.
In fact alot of them same workers have themselves been hooked, dependant, addicted, so are pretty dam well qualified, not to your degree standard, but they posess something that you cannot learn from a teacher “a degree in life”
On a positive note, despite “jo public” not seeing it, there are thousands, hundreds of thousand, millions of people across the world who have once been addicted, Who at some point in their life, chose to take a bit of sumat to help them forget or cope, but then took a little too much and before they knew it they were addicted, dependant on it. BUT who have worked out for “THEMSELVES” with the support and guidance from family, friends and substance misuse services that “THE DRUGS DON’T WORK”.
Addiction isn’t just one agencies problem, its a societies problem, it starts with parents nurturing their kids, building their self esteem, confidence, enough confidence to know that if a problem comes along, they can deal with its head on, with out trying to bury their heads in the sand.
Its about helping people to understand what “emotions are” and that EVERYONE has emotions, but no fucker talks about them! Addiction is like the “big pink elephant in the room” everyone knows its there, but no one talks about it, well I think its about time, that rather than blame everyone else, everyone should start to look at themselves.
I once took drugs and it fucked me up for a while, I learned my lesson with support from others around me, I learned that rather than be ashamed of my past, I am “proud of it” because the main number one lesson I learned from that horrid experience is to learn to like myself (this is easier said than done sometimes) learn to love myself and accept people around me love me too. And that despite what society says “it is ok to make mistakes”
Wow i feel alot better now,
Thank you for reading have a GREAT bank holiday – i know i am going to