Staffordshire Commissioner calls for tougher action on drugs

Staffordshire’s Police, Fire & Rescue and Crime Commissioner

The Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire and Rescue and Crime has joined calls for the government to reclassify synthetic drugs as Class A substances.

Matthew Ellis joined other Police and Crime Commissioners urging a rethink over the drug known as Spice.

The increasingly common narcotic is currently a Class B drug made-up of herbal plant material coated in a man-made chemical. It is illegal to produce, supply or import in Britain.

Although Spice is not as prevalent in the county as it is elsewhere in the UK, the Staffordshire Commissioner has supported his PCC colleagues in calling for the substance to be upgraded to the highest category.

Mr Ellis has also pushed for Monkey Dust to be given similar reclassification. The powder-based stimulant has become widely used in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.

The drug, also of Class B status, poses a severe threat to public health and society, with agitation, soaring blood rate, psychosis and paranoia among the effects.

Monkey Dust has been recorded as a contributing factor to several deaths, with more than 250 cases of the drug recorded during the opening half of 2018.

Mr Ellis said:

‘Parts of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent face challenges from the increasing abuse of synthetic cannabinoid and cathinone class drugs. ‘I’m concerned that substance misuse is a growing issue in the county – particularly Monkey Dust, which is especially prevalent in certain areas.

‘Staffordshire’s Chief Constable recently referred to it as the biggest public risk we are facing and I totally agree with him on that.

‘Monkey Dust causes psychotic and violent behaviour. Along with other substances, it blights communities, families and it’s crucial we keep digging away at all levels of drug enforcement.

‘It’s really important the message gets out there that drug dealing is a scourge of society and a menace to communities, not to mention the strain it puts on our emergency and public services.’