Photos Show Horrific Impact Of Synthetic Cannabis On Manchester's Homeless
Last year legislation was brought in making the sale of so-called 'legal highs' - such as the synthetic cannabis 'spice' - illegal, yet disturbing footage captured by the Manchester Evening News has demonstrated the continued affect of the spice on the city's homeless population.
The video shows how the synthetic form of marijuana formerly legal to sell 'not for human consumption' - is leaving users 'frozen'. The drug appears to cause people to stand or squat like statues, and in some cases keeling over onto their faces without realising, the MEN reports.
Watch the shocking footage here *warning, graphic footage*...
Reporters at the Manchester Evening News recorded the video on Sunday while walking down Tib Street, in the centre of the city.
Lifeshare, a charity which helps homeless young people, estimates 95 percent of young homeless people are on Spice. With its sale having been outlawed, it is now being dealt on the streets instead of being bought in shops.
The product is made in a lab and designed to mimic the effects of marijuana. Over the years, the active chemical, JWH-018, has been banned, meaning similar compounds have since been produced to keep Spice legal. Today's incarnation, which could contain any number of chemicals, still resembles weed as the active ingredients are often sprayed on plant materials.
Regular cannabis use can come with side effects, including anxiety, paranoia and an increased risk of psychotic illness - for some people.
But synthetic cannabinoids are much more dangerous, as unknown compositions bring a wider range of problems; from an increased heart rate, to sickness and full blown hallucination.
The latest strain of the drug is reported to be worse than the previous one. Lewis Morris, 37, who has been living on the streets since December 2016, told the MEN about the new strain of Spice.
He said: "It's lethal.
"I was walking down Market Street the other day and 17 people went down on it. They hit the deck shaking out of control and I had to phone an ambulance.
"It's madness. It's so cheap. Whoever is selling it they are making a lot of money on it. It's unreal.
"The new stuff is mixed with the tranquilliser they use when transporting koi carp to calm them down.
"It's really cheap. People are getting it for £5 a gram and it will last you all day. It's taken over heroin and crack."
Another homeless man, Michael Cauchi, 37, said he accidentally took the new strain of Spice and thought he was going to die.
He said: "Somebody passed me half a roll-up once and I didn't realise it was Spice. I thought I was dying."
Featured Image Credit: MEN