Charity can't help smokers

CANNABIS use is so prevalent that one Ipswich drug charity has stopped treating smokers.

CANNABIS use is so prevalent that one Ipswich drug charity has stopped treating smokers.

Since the drug was reclassified from class B to C in 2004, The Iceni Project has reported an increase of 40 to 50 per cent of people suffering with problems associated with cannabis dependency.

Patrick Palmer, Iceni co-founder and manager, said: “More and more people are using cannabis and a percentage of those people are developing problems.

“Because of the increase and because our funding is ring-fenced to class A drugs, we are no longer able to provide that service.”

Mr Palmer said during the last 18 months, cannabis use had rocketed and added some of the stronger strains have hallucinogenic properties.

He said: “They cause paranoia which builds up so that they feel they can't even leave the house. Cannabis can stop people getting on with their lives.

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“I had someone who said they couldn't even do the shopping because they thought people were looking at them.

“We also see mild forms of psychosis and when people try to stop they suffer severe withdrawal problems.

“The majority of people who come to us are not the people who have the occasional spliff - these are people where their dependency has developed to such an extent that they are smoking during the day, everyday.”

Mr Palmer said reclassifying cannabis from class C to B would only work if the change was supported by strong policing and an educational programme highlighting the drug's dangers.

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