A call has been made to get a street drug used by homeless people in Westminster recategorised as Class A.
There has been an increase in the use of Spice in the borough, and the drug is said to have withdrawal effects more severe than heroin and crack cocaine .
Spice, one of the street names given to synthetic cannabis, can cause severe psychotic episodes in users, who experience distressing hallucinations, vomiting and seizures.
Figures last year showed 22% of the 430 people staying in Westminster hostels in the first four months of 2016 were using the drug, despite the drug being relatively unknown two years ago.
In December 2016, the government classified strains of synthetic cannabinoids as a Class B controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (MDA).
Westminster council leader, Cllr Nickie Aiken, does not think it goes far enough.
She said: “I’m calling on the government to reclassify Spice as a Class A drug due to its devastating impact amongst vulnerable rough sleepers.
“We are currently in the grip of an epidemic and I, along with the local police, believe we need to go even further to highlight the dangers that are associated with this drug.
“I’m proud that Westminster City Council has led the way on this issue through working with the Government to categorise Spice as a Class B drug, which has been instrumental in helping our services tackle this problem.”
Keep up to date with the latest news in west London via the free getwestlondon app.
You can even set it to receive push notifications for all the breaking news in your area.