We’ve all witnessed the distressing scenes or followed the recent media coverage over the increasing use of drugs known as ‘black mamba’ or ‘spice.’

By working together we can make our streets safer and give vulnerable people help to overcome the harmful effects of these drugs.

The Council welcomes and fully supports the opening of a temporary mobile police station in the St Peter’s Cross area of the city.

By establishing this police unit it will help give City centre users and residents the re-assurance they deserve.

The Council, in conjunction with partners in  the Derby City Forum, has developed a strategy whereby a multidisciplinary team attempts to encourage drug users into treatment, into stable housing or into health services.

If all that fails we work with the police to reduce anti-social behaviour and to help stop associated crime.

The Council has dedicated significant resource to this problem over the last few months including two dedicated housing outreach workers; two drug outreach workers; two substance misuse safeguarding workers and hostel staff.

Drug treatment is not a solution in isolation to these problems. It augments the multidisciplinary approach and a greater emphasis is needed on enforcement and the reduction in supply on the streets.

All of this activity is now centrally managed by Public Health through a group known as PEEP (Partnership Engagement and Enforcement Programme) which oversees daily tasking, information sharing and monthly offender management.

It must be remembered that the Government’s drug strategy – whilst recognising the ‘mamba’ problem – also demands a focus on reduction in the use of class A drugs which can be fatal.

People using ‘mamba’ or ‘spice’ are either smoking or ingesting a hallucinogenic product which can leave them in a comatose (or ‘zombie’ like) state for a number of minutes before the individual recovers to a ‘normal’ intoxicated state.

I want to give re-assurance that the Council is working closely with the police, Public Health and other statutory, voluntary and faith organisations to reduce these problems.

However, we would urge anyone with immediate concerns about drug crime to contact the Police in the first instance.