A homeless man died in Birmingham after smoking Black Mamba (synthetic marijuana). This news has sparked fears of a potentially lethal batch doing rounds in the area. The man, 30, was pronounced dead at about 06:00 BST in Birmingham City Centre on April 9.
The two other men that he was with at Fletchers Walk were also taken to the hospital. The police believed that all three of them were under the influence of the former “legal high”.
Black Mamba is amongst the “legal highs” that were outlawed in the UK in 2016, under the Psychoactive Substances Act.
What Exactly Is Black Mamba
Black Mamba is synthetic marijuana which was formerly legal in the UK. It mimics the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC, as we know, is the main psychoactive chemical in cannabis.
Drugs like Black Mamba are basically designed to produce the same effect as dangerous drugs like cocaine. However, synthetic substances are way more potent than their naturally occurring counterparts. They have increased risk of side effects. Psychotic episodes, convulsions, and even organ failure are also some adverse reactions of the drug.
Black Mamba is bringing violence, chaos and extremely anti-social behavior in countries across the UK. The Psychoactive Substances Act of 2016 makes it illegal to supply drugs which have a direct effect on mental processes.
What Caused the Ban on Legal Highs
These synthetic drugs are extremely addictive in nature. Some users try drugs like Black Mamba for medicinal purposes, to begin with. But they get addicted to it very quickly. These drugs are wrecking havoc on the streets of Manchester.
Spice, which is another form of synthetic cannabis is the most dangerous amongst youth. It causes the most damage in the shortest space of time.
An increasing number of kids under 18 are being treated for addiction to former legal highs. Between 2015 and 2016, this number rose by 176% — according to Public Health England. 144 people died in the UK in 2014 because of these drugs.
Drug deaths in the Britain are at record numbers. So it was inevitable to enforce laws to keep a check on these drugs.
Following the ban of legal highs, authorities have the power to seize and destroy these illegal drugs. Police are able to shut down “head shops” — the stores which sell these drugs.
The Epidemic of Synthetic Weed
The death of the homeless man in Birmingham has sparked a fear of a potentially lethal batch of the synthetic drug.
A police crackdown took place in Manchester on April 9. The police got 31 calls in 24 hours. 14 of those calls were about people collapsing. There’s also been an increase in anti-social behavior.
This sort of behavior is consistent with the use of synthetic drugs, like the former legal highs. Users experience hallucinations, psychosis, muscle weakness, and paranoia. Such effects leave the user in a zombie-like state.
The City Centre Neighbourhood Policing team launched Operation Mandera in 2013. It is basically the crackdown on the supply of former legal highs by the force. Under this operation, the police have arrested 51 people in the last three weeks. 20 people out of this are suspected Spice dealers.
The authorities are doing everything in their power to control this epidemic. It started with these psychoactive substances getting banned in the UK. And now, it is an offense to advertise, sell, supply import of export them in the Irish Republic. Also, Lincoln, Newcastle, and Tanton have banned their use in public places.