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  1. ITV Report

Spice: The 'zombie' drug causing chaos on our streets

An ITV News investigation has revealed the extent to which our emergency services are struggling to cope with a new and emerging drug hitting our streets.

Credit: ITV News

Up until last year, Spice, otherwise known as Mamba, was available for purchase over a shop counter. Although banned, it is now stronger than ever - and there is a warning that the worst is yet to come.

Credit: ITV News

Spice or Mamba is a synthetic cannabinoid belonging to a group of drugs called New Psychoactive Substances (NPS).

They mimic the effects of traditional drugs but are many times more powerful. The chemicals in them can change from batch to batch, meaning the impact on users goes from the mild to the extreme.

Rob Osborne explains:

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said the Government is doing more by giving the police the tools to enforce the law, but senior officers have told ITV News these drugs are presenting the biggest challenge they have seen in decades.

Correspondent Rob Osborne spent time with North Wales Police who are trying to tackle the problem in the area

ITV Wales has spent time on the frontline with police in Wrexham seeing their daily fight trying to tackle the effects of the drug.

Chief Inspector Dave Jolly from the force said three quarters of his officers' time is spent dealing with the problem.

This isn’t just an issue for the police.

197
Instances attributed to 'legal highs' from May '16-June'17, according to the Welsh Ambulance Service

Drug users themselves are also worried.

Many have told us of the dangerous situations they have found themselves in having taken these drugs.

Dean is a former user of Mamba.

This also isn’t just an issue confined to Wrexham.

The council are working with police, drug agencies and others to look for a solution but they admit there are no easy answers.

Rhian Jones from Wrexham County Council said the problem is 'inching towards a crisis.'

It seems no part of the country is immune to the problem - but there is a warning that worse could be coming.

The National Crime Agency, Britain’s answer to the FBI, believes the substance Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid which is 100 times stronger than street heroin, has killed drug users in the northern England.

ITV News understands they will be making more statements on this drug in the coming weeks.

Police and drug experts have told us we need to tackle the problems facing us before it’s too late.

Stephen Campbell, drug expert and Wrexham Council adviser

You can the full investigation here.

Following that programme, correspondent Rob Osborne will be hosting a Facebook Live from 8.30pm and will be asking - How do we stop a bad situation from getting worse?