NPS - The Mamba Issue
New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) were previously known as 'legal highs', as these substances were once sold in shops and online legally. However, in May 2016 the Psychoactive Substances Act came into force, which 'makes it an offence to produce, supply, offer to supply, possess with intent to supply, possess on custodial premises, import or export psychoactive substances; that is, any substance intended for human consumption that is capable of producing a psychoactive effect. The maximum sentence will be 7 years' imprisonment.' Although there are many different types of NPS, synthetic cannabinoids such as 'spice' or especially 'mamba', are the subject of growing concern amongst Opportunity Nottingham staff and other professionals who work with Beneficiaries in Nottingham City.
This issue prompted the 2018 report New Psychoactive Substances - A study about their impact on Opportunity Nottingham Beneficiaries. Through research conducted with Personal Development Coordinators and Beneficiaries it was found that;
- 33% (approx) Beneficiaries have used or are currently using NPS
- Over 70% of users are male
- Many have taken the drug by accident (for example smoking a discarded cigarette butt)
- Hostels or prisons are key locations where Beneficiaries are first introdcued to NPS
- Reasons for using include 'blocking out' the circumstance people find themselves in.
The use of NPS is becoming more visible across Nottingham City. Beneficiaries talk about the ease of obtaining the drugs, and also how cheap they are. As a project we are working with relevant partners and organisations to try and address this issue.