UNILAD Original I Documentary: The Dark Side Of Britain: Spice

So I bought this this morning, I made 1 spliff
out of this and it was a really big spliff because it was my morning one and it knocked
me out, but that's it, that's it there. It's not much but thats ranging round about
5 pound but you're only going to need about probably that little tiny bit there to knock
you out. He couldn't sleep one night and someone offered
him a bit of a joint and that got him to sleep one night. The next night he thought it was a good idea,
you know what I mean, and that's how these addictions start. I get a couple of joints out of it, 3 or 4
joints out of it and that does me, that'll do me until about 6 in the morning.

Every morning my stomach hurts, sometimes
I can be sick, depends on what stuff I've been smoking. So sometimes after 2 drags I can wake up with
burns in my jacket, because I passed out with a joint. I put that in a joint and I'll probably take
a knock on that. That little tiny bit, but that does it, that
stops the stomach cramps, it stops everything. It's like it's just taken over, seriously
took over. People will see it as an easy answer to living
life easy on the streets. You don't feel nothing, you don't see nothing,
you don't feel nothing. You know what yeah… Do you think that's why people take it? Yeah because it blocks everything on these
streets out, everything. If I blew it in your face, it'll probably
knock you out, like get you stoned.

It's lethal really. You're awake, you're aware but you're not
in control something takes over you and you're just stuck, you can't move. Makes everything go away, you're just floating,
you know what I mean, you just shut your eyes, just calm, you feel relaxed, you feel comfortable. I like it, because it gets you proper stoned. I think it is, it's horrible the way it's
made but every drug is horrible. I think people just are very judgmental, no one goes
I want belly ache in the morning, I want to throw up in the morning. No human wants that, they don't want to be
in pain but when they smoke it and are comfy, time flies absolutely flies. It seems like this place is very hectic as
well. It is very hectic and I've just been speaking
to the guys then, the reason why it's so hectic is because we don't close the door on anyone. You know if somebody comes, we're a crisis
led service, somebody comes to the front door and they need help because you can't, we have
a drop in Tuesday, Friday 2 until 4 but you can't say to somebody "have a crisis at 2
o'clock on Tuesday and we'll help you." Has the situation in Manchester got worse
since it's been criminalised? Yep, a lot worse because now you're not getting
sealed packets so you don't know what's in them, some spice that you buy on Deansgate
is different to what you might buy on Piccadilly Gardens It's now kind of, every man for himself, it
can be tampered with a lot more because it's now being sold in the snap bags, and it's
turned a sort of community of people against each other now because one may not smoke spice
anymore but they'll sell it and they're getting people to go out and beg for it and they're
actually making people, "I'll give you some spice but you need to go out and beg for it
and then give me the money that you get from begging" so it's a hundred, million times
worse than it was before the ban.

So why, why do they need to get themselves
into such a state that they're on a different planet and not being able to deal with their
day to day life, if we can get to the root cause of that problem and the reason why they
feel that way, then we can tackle it. Criminalising it makes absolutely no difference
whatsoever. I'd pay double for a packet of it if I can
get it in a packet rather than what I showed you last night in a bag off the street, I'd
rather get it in a packet.When it says it on a packet, it says what's in it, exactly
what's in it on the back of it. Do you know when I first smoked spice? In Strangeways there, that's where I first
smoked spice.

In cell 21 on the fours, me and Sitch it was,
we bought a joint on the yard for a fiver. This is Bury New Road, this is where the legalised
shop was in the first place, I guarantee if we walked on that side, and yous didn't have
them cameras out we would get offered spice. I was buying packets from the shop and it
was like you could get a gram for a fiver, you could get half an ounce for £15. It was a lot cheaper and it had on the packets
what was in it. You could get black chronic, green chronic,
erm, clockwork orange. When you were getting it in the packets from
the shop behind us, right, if you were getting it in the packets from there you knew what
was in it. It said everything that was in it and it also
said not for human consumption, and believe me I don't know what's in it, nobody knows
what's in spice right now. The other day I smoked a joint, and when I
came round I've got 2 paramedics with me and I didn't even know and they were saying to
me, "come on shaun, get in the ambulance" and I was saying "what are you on about, I
don't need an ambulance" and they're saying "you do, you're out cold on the floor near
the road" and I don't know anything about it and that's because I don't know what's
in spice, the spice that's about now because you just don't know what's in it.

I don't care how much spice I've got to smoke,
I'll smoke as much as it takes, that way I don't feel it, I don't feel like my baby died
last year, I don't feel like my mum's dying, I don't remember any of it, I don't want to
remember any of it, that's why I do it, that's why I won't go home, that's why I'm carrying
it on and I will carry it on until my mum's gone because I can't sit there watching it,
I'm not like my brothers and my sisters I can't sit there and watch her die, I can't
do that, so I've put myself on the street, I'll stay on the street and be out here rather
than watching my mum die. People smoke it because it's cheap and easy,
when they smoke spice it makes you forget about your problems, like if you smoke that
you're not going to think where am I staying tonight, where am I gonna have a wash, where
am I gonna get food from, you don't think nothing.

You wake up, you have a drag, spiced out of
your head, all you're thinking now is where am I going to get my next bag? Where am I going to get my next bag? Kids are just getting origami or like chopped
up marshmallows plants, soaking it in acetone, nail varnish remover, liquid cleaner for your
alloys, soaking it and because it's got chemicals soaked into it, smoking it's dangerous. It's stronger now than it ever was before,
so it's more of a dangerous situation now than it was back then, do you know what I
mean. The way that spice is generally manufactured
is that the chemical is purchased, usually through the dark web, and it's imported illegally
and then what will happen is is it's a powder which is then dissolved up in an appropriate
solvent something like nail varnish remover, something like that, it's them mixed within
a plant material and then dried and then separated into the small bags that we see on the street.

I was smoking upwards of 58 gram a day to
try and kill myself, to get rid of the pain of losing my sister, my nan and so many friends. I ended up, there is no other way to describe
it other than drug induced psychosis, I was seeing things that weren't really there, police
officers approached me one morning and I've lashed out because I didn't see a police officer,
I've just seen a shape coming at me and I've ended up in prison for 6 months for ABH, which
after my release, I started smoking spice again, it was about 3 weeks after my release
I smoked a large spliff of spice, and I ended up vomiting uncontrollably and I ended up
rupturing my stomach to the point where I was vomiting blood, I threw up a pint and
a half of my own blood and ended up in a 14 day coma in St Thomas' hospital.

Absolutely destroyed me, I ruined my life
with it, I ended up homeless, I ended up walking away from my friends, my job, my home, everything
all because of spice. It's like I'd never go near it again and I'd
warn any one of my friends to stay away from it, because it kills people and it ruins your
life. They'll typically say you know, "I know it
sounds daft but when you smoke it on the streets, it makes you feel warm, it's like you've got
a warm blanket around you" that is exactly how a heroin user would talk about using heroin,
feeling warm, feeling enclosed, or again they say it's the only thing that gets me to sleep,
you've been trying to get to sleep in a car park, you're worried about being attacked,
feeling very vulnerable, if I smoke a joint of spice, it gets me to sleep.

So it seems to have this ability to condense
time whether it's to make 3, 4,5 hours pass, make a long period of time feel shorter, so
again you speak to homeless people and they'll say "I've been on the streets for 2 years,
it feels like 2 months." How bad is spice when it come to addictiveness? Horrific, it's you know, we've had people
that we know of sort of anecdotally that they've swapped from heroin onto spice because it's
cheaper and then they've found it's harder to get off spice than it is to get off heroin. How long would it be until I can pick up spice,
if I wanted too? 10 minutes, and 7 minutes of that is walking
up the street, so it's very, it's easy and if you see people in a certain way, you'd
approach them and ask them where they get it from, or if you're around the city centre
long enough somebody will probably ask you if you want to buy some. I could take you right now to the centre of
Piccadilly Gardens and just stand there on 1 spot like this and you'll watch people coming
to me saying "do you want to buy spice?" that's the worse thing, that's how horrible
it is in Manchester now, spice is too easy to get hold of, you can stand in 1 spot like
this, and someone will say do you want something, do you want weed? Do you want spice? Do you want crack? Do you want heroin? It's flooded,
the town is horrible.

Every homeless person around the city centre
are all spice heads. Manchester's fucked through spice, spice has
fucked it. When the police made it illegal, that's when
they made it worse, if they had kept it legal and drive everybody off it properly there
wouldn't be half the crime there is now, there wouldn't be half the people on it now, because
obviously these police have just snapped it off, shut the shops down, people are still
addicted to it. It's that bad that they're killing each other
for it, someone's gone in someones pocket and because he's gone in someones pocket they've
then said you're coming picking an ounce up with me, so when he were going for spice,
there weren't no fucking spice it was a stitch up, they were just taking him to the canal
to kill him.

They battered him, and then they've gone too
far and they've killed him, now he's been killed, all through spice, that's the second
one, out of my mates that I know have been killed over spice, 1 of them got burnt in
his tent, it was because he had spice and the rest of them didn't, so they battered
him for his spice, that kid was only 19, 19 and he got killed, in a tent because of spice,
just because he had a few spliffs and they didn't have a spliff, but because they wanted
a spliff and he had a spliff they killed that poor kid for that spice. So post ban, we've been seeing spice in this
sort of form here, so it's a very nondescript green plant material, now if you actually
bought the cannabinoid on the market and then manufactured that you'd probably be spending
a couple of pounds to actually import the cannabinoids so a gram of that, that would
produce 500 bags of half a gram in weight and you'd probably get a markup of about £2500. You've sort of got a catch 22 there, all the
drug dealers now like the people who used to deal cocaine, heroin, crack, all the big
time drug dealers now have sort of moved away from that, they still do that on the sidelines
but now they've got spice as a main avenue because it's such a moneymaker.

It's quite basic and quite easy to do, you
can go online now and you can search how to make spice, how to make synthetic cannabinoids
and there's been a step-by-step set of instructions about how you would actually do that. So if you think how many homeless people are
in Manchester city centre, say as a rough number, say 5000, as a rough number, 5000
people get 10 or 20 pound a day, 5000 times 10 or 20, that's 50 grand, that's a lot of
money, that's a lot of income to be getting, just from people begging off others on the
streets, never mind people have got jobs, who get a wage and pay for it like that, it's
such stupidly easy money that people, they just think they're stupid to turn away from

People that are on it, it's hard for them
to get off though, you know it's hard to actually realise I want to stop and I need help, we
can't tell them to stop smoking it, they've got to want the change themselves. You know there's death involved but you still
take that chance, 50-50 chance, every drag is a 50-50 chance if you're gonna live or

Basically is, because 1 drag could kill somebody. It's kind of like a heroin withdrawal in a
way because you start, your stomach starts cramping, you start sweating when you're freezing,
you know you're cold, so you're wrapped up in a big coat but you start sweating and sweating,
you start shaking, physically shaking like that, you'd be sick, I had blood coming out
of me, here there and everywhere. How easy is it to get addicted too? It's like that. I know people that have been on the streets
for 30, 40 years, they've been heavy heroin and crack users for those 30 or 40 years and
even they won't go anywhere near spice.

I mean I've physically seen it with my own
eyes, people who have woken up thinking that they're gonna have the sweats and the runs
from a heroin withdrawal and really they're shaking from a spice withdrawal and they haven't
even noticed that they haven't done gear for like 4 weeks and they've just been smoking
spice. The spice yeah, when it used to be in the
packets they never knocked you out like that, it would knock you out yeah, but not like
that, like now you can take 2 or 3 pulls of it, out.

I thought I'd go from heroin to spice but
I haven't, I've ended up still having a heroin habit, a spice habit and a crack habit, so
instead of getting rid of a smack habit and getting a spice habit I've ended up commandeering
all 3. So every morning, I do go for 3 bits, a bag
of spice, a bag of smack and a piece of crack and that's breakfast, that's my breakfast,
I won't eat or anything until I've done that, when I've done that, that's me good to go,
I'm good for everything then when I've had that, so until I've had that, I'm just the
nastiest bastard under the sun. Spice to me it's a whole new class, you get
your class B, C, A, I think spice is another class above A anything man made with chemicals
now they're calling it a new form of spice, like crystallised MDMA they're saying it's
crystallised spice, because it's the new man made chemical drug.

It can kill you instantly, instantly man,
1 little dab of that can end you. The concentrations have, the potencies have
been around 2 to 7% prior to the ban, post ban we saw a massive spike specifically in
Manchester and that was associated with a significant rise in potency by about 10 times
the normal dose, so we're looking at between about 17 to 20% and that was directly linked
to about 53 emergency call outs that were received one weekend.

Originally we'd say compared to cannabis,
you could buy a gram for £10 and you could get 30 to 40 joints from 1 gram so people
talk about just needing a tiny pin head or like the equivalent to a grain of rice and
put that in a joint, then people would talk about in a matter of months the tolerance
builds up to such a degree that they're then smoking 5, 6, 7, 8 grams a day and it's quite
common when we've been doing the research to see somebody put a half gram pack into
1 joint. So they go from getting 30 to 40 joints out
of 1 gram to just getting 1 or 2 joints out of a pack. Not even a gram… How long will that last you? About 2 hours, I'll get a couple of joints
out of it, about 3 or 4 joints out of it and that does me, that will do me until about
6 in the morning. Have you ever seen anything like this? Never, never, and I'm old school, I remember
the Hacienda days of pills and MDMA and all those kind of things, I'd call it an epidemic,
I've never seen anything like it.

Just because you're in a shit place and you've
got nowhere else to go and you've got nothing else to do, does not mean that you have to
sit there and smoke spice and obliterate yourself, I reckon if you put any one of the politicians
that sit in the Houses of Parliament now, put them on the streets, go here you are, here's
a spliff of spice I'm going to come back to you in a months time and see how bad you are,
I guarantee they'll be sat there with no fucking shoes on in a foil blanket begging for spice. That's what it does to everyone, it just strips
you of your humanity, everything you are as a person. If anything it's just a thousand times more
dangerous, because when it was still legal it was being made by companies that were being
regulated, there was a certain amount of regulation in the actual product itself, certain chemicals
weren't added, they were measured properly but now people are buying the formulas online,
making it at home so people are making their own mixtures up and editing the recipes in
different ways and that's why people are dying so quickly now.

So you don't know where the products come
from, you don't know how powerful it is, you don't know what's been added to it, what's
been taken away from it, basically it's a game of roulette, if you go and buy spice
from a dealer in the city now you're playing a game of roulette because 1 drag could kill
you. 1 drag will drop you dead, because it could
have been laced. They could kill you for a fiver, just for
a £5 bag of spice, they could take your life and they're not bothered because they've made
the money off it, now it's your family that deals with everything after your spice use. It needs to stop doesn't it, spice is just
killing people, if the government carried on selling it in the shop you wouldn't have
half of the problems you have now, I promise you, it's a billion of pounds industry when
it was legal, so what's it going to be like now it's illegal.

It's a bad game man, bad. Now whether it's legal, class A, B or C it's
not really going to have any impact on people's decision making, whether to use it or not
and I think the focus as always should be targeting the dealers and in terms of the
users it's about trying to engage them in treatment. What we need to look at is reducing the onset,
most people that you speak too, they'll say they were first introduced to spice in the
prison system so we need to do more work in the prison system to stop people using it,
because the prison system is basically churning out spice users into the community, so if
you criminalise uses, you put them into prison, then you know that's just self-perpetuating
this kind of cycle. Same place it is, smack and crack, a phone
call and it's fucking there, within 5, 10 minutes. If you don't want to do that, you walk to
Piccadilly Gardens or walk to fucking Deansgate and you get it straight away, walk to Chinatown
you'll get it.

Manchester city centre is full of spice. I'm a little bit stoned now, I feel alright. *inaudible*.

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