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Tags: Novel Psychoactive Substances

A visit to Wrexham NPS taskforce and community hub

VOICES NPS taskforce
By Steve Willis, Service Co-ordinator, VOICES   Stoke-on-Trent Police recently organised a visit to Wrexham where they have set up a taskforce to address the difficulties faced by the rise in use of Novel Psychoactive Substances. I attended this on behalf of VOICES to find out more about what has been done, it’s effectiveness and what could be learned to help problems with NPS that Stoke-on-Trent is currently experiencing.   18 months ago Wrexham was gaining infamy amongst the national and international press for their ‘Spice’ problem which seemed concentrated in their town centre, most notably around the bus station. Initially the Police had tried to combat the issue by using Public Space Protection Orders resulting in fines for individuals going against the requirements of the order. They found this route to be ineffectual; most individuals did not have the money to pay the fines and instead it served to put them into deeper debt than they already were. Ultimately it had no effect on the behaviour of individuals involved and no clear results for businesses suffering the ill effects of anti-social behaviour. The Police were finding that most of their time was being taken up with this and repeatedly with the same small… Continue Reading

HMP Dovegate NPS Learning

VOICES NPS dovegate
NPS is a major concern in our prison.  The Substance Misuse team at Dovegate took action and organised a learning opportunity for prisoners to attend aimed at raising awareness of the issue.  The team invited Voices and Expert Citizens C.I.C.  to contribute to the event held in June this year.   Over 50 individuals attended and listened to Expert Citizen, Lee Dale about his experiences with NPS and how you can overcome it.  Lee also shared his experiences of being a Peer Mentor, supporting people experiencing multiple needs.  Sharon Sharman, Learning and Evaluation Manager at VOICES gave a presentation to the attendees about the impact of NPS in the community.   By Expert Citizens C.I.C. and VOICES attending the event it has promoted the work that they do and has given prisoners an insight into the support available on release to the Stoke-on-Trent area.  One prisoner is particularly keen to volunteer when he is released with a longer-term goal of becoming a Peer Mentor.  Individuals who gave feedback stated that they “found the speeches and presentation really beneficial”.   We hope VOICES and Expert Citizens C.I.C.  are back soon at HMP Dovegate.   Alison Barnes Health Promotions Practitioner Care UK HMP Dovegate… Continue Reading

Novel Psychoactive Substances: practice implications and solutions

By Andy Meakin, Director, VOICES A multi-disciplinary community of practice   VOICES is hosting a Community of Practice to look at the issue of novel psychoactive substances (NPS), the implications of use for practice, and potential local solutions.   The event is aimed at professionals with interest in NPS use and its implications for practice, social policy, or strategy in the context of health, social care, criminal justice, or community safety.  We will be inviting people with lived experience of NPS use to participate in the community and give their perspective on this topical issue.  Previously referred to as ‘legal highs’, last year the sale of NPS was banned by Parliament in May 2016.   NPS use has been portrayed in the popular media as an epidemic of criminality and antisocial behaviour.  In March 2017, the Daily Mail ran an on-line story under the headline “Rise of the zombies”.1  The article states that, “drug experts are warning of a Spice epidemic that is spreading from the North-West, driving a wave of crime and casualties that the police and emergency services are struggling to cope with.” Since the introduction of the ban, many observers note that the price of these substances has fallen while availability has increased.  It’s argued… Continue Reading

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