In The War On Drugs Show, we examine the social implications of drug prohibition – how it plays into user harms, arrest and incarceration rates, drug seizures and the destruction of criminal networks.
Whether, basically, prohibition works or not.
In this episode, we look at that question through the lens of Spice, the nasty synthetic cannabinoid banned in the UK by the 2016 Psychoactive Substances Act.
Prior to the introduction of that Act, a series of bans of similar substances in the 2010s led to Chinese chemists repeatedly tweaking the molecular formula of Spice until it had mutated from a mildly powerful “legal high” sold to school kids on the British high street, into something capable of causing chaos and misery in the UK prison system.
This is the story of how Spice morphed from a head shop staple to the tabloid-terrorising “zombie drug”.