Ashfield council leader welcomes review into spice classification

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The leader of Ashfield District Council has welcomed news that the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs will conduct a detailed review of the reclassification of spice.

Councillor Jason Zadrozny has been outspoken about the need for reclassification in recent months, utilising his position as county councillor for Ashfields to open a debate on the issue in August which helped lead to this review.

Councillor JasonZadrozny,

Councillor JasonZadrozny,

This resulted in a significant lobbying process from MPs and councils across Nottinghamshire calling on the government to reconsider its stance on the “zombie drug”, whereby Coun Zadrozny took a firm stance.

He said: “I have made it clear in the past that reclassification is one of the most important measures we can take to clamp down on spice.

“I put the original motion through the county council which called on all of the MPs in our area to lobby the government for this, and I have brought up the topic for six consecutive months in the chamber.

“It seemed to be Vernon Coaker [Gedling MP] and Ben Bradley [Mansfield MP] who supported the county councillors most and put forward the letter to central government calling for this review.

“This is fantastic news.”

Mansfield’s MP Ben Bradley submitted a letter to the Advisory Councul on the Misuse of Drugs, in which he received a reply earlier this week which said it was going to reconsider its previous stance that the drug should be class B.

Coun Zadrozny thinks this is “great news” for Ashfield.

He said: “We had heard last week that there was plans to ‘look into’ ways of tackling spice use and now there will be a full review, which can only be good news for Ashfield.

“I really do welcome this because I think it is time we truly took a stand against spice use - not necessarily the users but the dealers.

“The original stance on turning spice into a class B was to give powers to arrest, however there is very little prosecuting power available to the police its possession and dealing without it being a class A.

“The people who use it are often vulnerable people who are addicted and need support, and who have been taken advantage of by dealers.

“It is the dealers we should be targeting - those who pray on these vulnerabilities.

“Ashfield council has done what it can, setting up public space protection orders and evicting dealers from council properties.

“The other agencies are also doing that they can, and now it is important to give the police the powers it needs to do what they can too.”

The chairman of the Advisory Council, Dr Owen Bowden-Jones, says the review will be complete by July 2019.