Spice 'most severe public health issue in decades'
The so-called zombie drug Spice is the "most severe public health issue we have faced in decades", Lincolnshire's Police and Crime Commissioner has said.
Marc Jones is calling on the government to reclassify the synthetic drug in the same category as heroin and cocaine.
He said it was needed so "the dealers who peddle this misery are treated with the same severity and concern".
Mr Jones has written an open letter to Home Office ministers, signed by all 20 Conservative crime commissioners.
The Home Office said it recognised how dangerous synthetic cannabinoids could be and was continuing to monitor their impact.
"That is why we acted to control these substances as Class B drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act and give the police the powers they need to take action, including making possession illegal and delivering longer sentences for dealers," a spokesperson said.
Spice, which is designed to mimic the effects of cannabis, can have severe debilitating effects and can leave users in a zombie-like state.
"Users are increasingly seen slumped on the streets in a state of semi-consciousness, often passed out, sometimes aggressive and always highly unpredictable," said Mr Jones."
"This is not cannabis - it really is a very different animal and we need to eradicate it from our streets.
"The wide-scale abuse of these debilitating drugs within towns, cities and even villages across the UK is one of the most severe public health issue we have faced in decades, and presently the response to tackle the issue is woefully inadequate."
Mr Jones said some Spice users were taking heroin as a way of trying to shake their addiction.
"They are seeing heroin as a softer option," he said.
Mr Jones said the reclassification of drugs like Spice from class B to class A would raise the issue in the minds of the public and mean harsher sentences for dealers.
He is also calling for more services to be put in place to help addicts.