February 13, 2019 3.15 pm This story is over 31 months old

Children as young as three hospitalised over substance misuse

We haven’t heard the last of spice

More than 360 people were admitted to hospital in just under four years for use of psychoactive substances, aged between three and 81 years old.

New data revealed via a Freedom of Information Request to the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (ULHT) showed 363 admissions were recorded by hospitals in Lincolnshre for ‘synthetic cannabinoids’ use between January 1, 2015 and October 10, 2018.

The data, ULHT told The Lincolnite, included all stimulants, from caffeine to class B drugs like New Psychoactive Substances – aka ‘zombie’ drug spice.

Altogether, 363 people were hospitalised due to synthetic cannabinoids.

Twelve of that total were aged 18 and under. The oldest was 81.

Sights like this have plagued Lincoln in recent years

The FOI, submitted by student newspaper LSJ News, showed a three-year-old girl was sent to Boston Prilgrma Hospital in 2015 and a three-year-old boy in 2017.

The popularity of spice drugs made headlines in the last few years, in Lincoln particularly, due to the horrifying effect it has on users and scenes of semi-conscious people lining the High Street.

Increases in drug taking on the streets of the city had a severe impact on local businesses, and concerns grew over the effectiveness of support services and policing.

The City of Lincoln Council put £61,000 into a new intervention team tasked with bridging gaps in support, policing and public safety and to combat the widespread drug use in October.

A synthetic and highly-addictive group of man-made, cheap and easily accessible cannabinoids (or New Psychoactive Substances) is the poison behind many personal crisis’, police, ambulance and social service callouts.

They’re nothing new, in fact before they were outlawed they were sold shops across the city as ‘legal highs’. Before the ban was enforced, we spoke to a teen addict about the effects, and even a head shop owner who said she didn’t agree with them but had no problem selling them.

NPS have been an illegal class B drug since 2016. It is against the law to produce, supply, possess with intent to supply or import and the maximum sentence for offences is seven years imprisonment.

Lincoln made history by becoming the first city in the UK to ‘ban’ NPS.

PCC Marc Jones previously promised to dedicate more officers to Lincoln, but warned they would be coming from elsewhere in the county.

“It might seem logical that we would come along and arrest everybody, but the police cells would just fill up with minor offences and the low level dealers would be quickly replaced.”

What can you do?

READ: What to do if you see someone on spice

Need help?

If you need support with drug or alcohol addiction, or know somebody who needs support, these services can help.

One of the most important things you can do to stop the supply of drugs into Lincoln is to put a stop to production and supply. If you have any information or intelligence about drug dealing in the city, you should call Lincolnshire Police on 101, or 999 in an emergency.

If you’ve been affected by any of the issues covered by The Lincolnite this week, you can reach the newsroom by emailing [email protected]

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