Sheffield to host UK's first-ever spice conference
The country's first national conference aimed at tacking the use of the drug spice will be held in Sheffield today.
Around 120 people, including healthcare profressionals, police officers and charity workers from around the country are due to attend.
The devastating impact of the former legal high were evidentÂ in Sheffield city centre this summer and South Yorkshire Police's chief constable Stephen Watson said educating users on the effects was the answer but warned it was not an easy issue to solve.
Spice is a type of synthetic cannabis that can have severe debilitating effects and leave those who take it in a zombie-like state.
Mr Watson said: "Spice is a really difficult issue and it's one that I, personally, am concerned about. I have been out on patrol with officers in the town and city centres and have found myself literally pulling some chap up from the gutter who has been lying on his face.
"When you come across these people, who frankly, have been stupid enough to have consumed spice, it creates in them this sort of zombie-like state which is very visible and quite distressing for members of the public and also puts the individual at huge risk of vulnerability because they have rendered themselves completely helpless."
The event is being ledÂ by South Yorkshire Police as part of its roleÂ National Problem Solving and Demand Reduction Programme.
Sheffield Council opened a dedicated walk-in Spice clinic last month following growing sightings around the city centre of people rendered unconscious or in a trance-like state after taking the drug.