Prince William spoke about the dangers of a new drug called spice during a visit to The Passage on Tuesday.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens, spice is a “mix of herbs (shredded plant material) and manmade chemicals with mind-altering effects,” and is often called synthetic marijuana or fake weed because “some of the chemicals in it are similar to the ones in marijuana; but its effects are sometimes very different from marijuana, and frequently much stronger.”
While touring The Passage’s facilities, William and Kate were told that spice is becoming a problem because of its cheapness and legality and that it can exacerbate existing health problems, including mental health-related.
Mick Clarke, the chief executive of The Passage, told reporters that Prince William said that “the fact it was a legal high and that young people were allowed to take it and it leads to addiction is just terrible.”
The Passage surveyed its clients in 2016, Clarke said, and found that about 50 per cent had tried spice that year; they repeated the survey this year, and the number increased to 70 per cent.
Spice is addictive, and people trying to go off it often experience withdrawal symptoms.
“There was real empathy that came from both the Duke and Duchess,” Clarke said. “They very much care about the issue, and I think it marks the way they care about the poorest in society and they take their responsibility to raise those issues, to give it the profile that’s needed, very seriously.”
Clarke continued, “I think they genuinely get it in terms of the stuff they’ve done around, say, Heads Together, and I think they really appreciated hearing first hand the terrible effects of spice…there was a lot of talk around how we break the cycle of addiction, mental health and homelessness.”