Ashfield District Council votes unanimously to reclassify 'zombie drug' spice

Ashfield District councillors overwhelmingly voted to pressure central government into reclassifying 'zombie drug' spice.

Friday, 12th October 2018, 2:48 pm
Updated Friday, 12th October 2018, 2:53 pm

Issues with spice have been ongoing on Ashfield’s streets for a number of months leading to the leader of the council Councillor Jason Zadrozny describing scenes as “like something from Dawn of the Dead”.

The drug is currently classified as Class B which means policing powers are limited, however it is thought that by reclassifying the substance as Class A it will bring more prosecution power to the force.

Members from all parties on Ashfield District Council were in agreement that action needs to be taken across the district to limit the anti-social behaviour resulting from spice use in towns and villages.

A rising number of people on the city's streets are taking spice, according to a council report.

Coun Zadrozny said: “I am glad we have got some harmony on the issue of spice because it has been the issue causing the most disruption across Ashfield in recent months. “It is not fair that the people using spice in our streets are causing so much havoc to the extent where it is putting people off coming into Sutton or into Kirkby.

“I think members of the Labour group can sympathise with me saying that this issue is all about working ‘for the many and not for the few’.

“There are 120,000 residents in Ashfield and around 40 people are making a nuisance.

“It should not be the case that people in our district feel too scared to come into town just because there isn’t enough action being taken to curb spice use on our streets.”

Part of the motion emphasised the council’s ambition to write to Home Secretary Sajid Javid calling for the reclassification and to also put pressure on Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner to offer more funding for Ashfield in the fight against spice.

While there was harmony between all members on the need for more action on spice, Labour’s Coun Cheryl Butler put forward an amendment which changes the wording of the motion to “not criminalise and vilify addicts”.

This was seconded by Coun Keir Morrison and also passed unanimously “in the name of harmony”.

He said: “I have personally had friends who died from drug use and I can certainly say it is not something the people have chosen lightly.

“While action is certainly needed to give the police more powers, it should be noted that addiction is a slippery slope and we should do what we can to offer support to users of spice.

“I wholly agree that the police should go after the dealers and not the users, trying to do what we can to get spice off the streets.”