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Police discuss ways to stem Spice drug spread

Ninth International Symposium for best police practices closed yesterday

Gulf News

Dubai: More urgent cooperation is needed between Gulf countries in order to thwart new illicit drug trends by youth in the region, say officials.

New means of stemming the spread of harmful substances was on the agenda of the final day of the Ninth International Symposium for Best Police Practices in Dubai.

Topping the list of problem drugs of choice among young users was Spice, a mind-altering substance that is readily available for determined users on the internet.

The American-based National Institute on Drug Abuse says abuse of the synthetic cannabinoid spice can be extremely harmful.

“Spice refers to a wide variety of herbal mixtures that produce experiences similar to marijuana (cannabis) and that are marketed as safe, legal alternatives to that drug. Spice mixtures have been easy to purchase in head shops and gas stations and via the internet,” the institute states on its website. “Spice abusers who have been taken to Poison Control Centres report symptoms that include rapid heart rate, vomiting, agitation, confusion and hallucinations. Spice can also raise blood pressure and cause reduced blood supply to the heart (myocardial ischemia), and in a few cases it has been associated with heart attacks. Regular users may experience withdrawal and addiction symptoms.”

To counter the rise in popularity of the drug, those attending yesterday’s symposium discussed the formation of a scientific committee at the national UAE level for monitoring chemicals and narcotics and to make recommendations to the legislative authority for the Federal Law on Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

The committee could also consider the banning of websites that offer Spice.

The forum discussed criminal evidence and challenges facing the police in cyber crime, as they may not be able to identity the source.

Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Dubai Police Chief, said that Dubai Police are keen to provide the highest level of security and community service to protect human rights and juvenile welfare.