Life on streets of UK Vegas where two drags of zombie drug leaves you out cold

It's a place where tens of thousands flock to see the famous illuminations but beneath the bright lights and buzzing arcades is a dark world of drugs and depravation.

Blackpool – dubbed the 'Las Vegas of the North' – was once packed with holiday-makers and daytrippers, but the rise of budget airlines left B&Bs empty and jobs scarce. A video posted on YouTube by Adikia Media gives an insight into the area with boarded up businesses and a rise in homelessness.

In the shadow of the imposing Blackpool Tower and Pleasure Beach live some of the most deprived communities where drug and alcohol abuse is rife. Spice – the synthetic substance on the street "turns people into zombies" and offers oblivion for as little as a fiver.

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A homeless man interviewed in the video said: "I'm addicted to spice…I have to take it so I can sleep at night." The man admits the drug is "very easy to get hold of."

Speaking of the affects of spice, he says it leaves him feeling "instantly screwed" adding: "I've been off it for a week, had some yesterday – half a drag, f*****g sweating, thought I was going to pass out, my f****g chest was thudding…it's a bit like doing gear. Two drags and you'll be out cold."

Speaking to the Guardian in 2015, Helen Gavaghan from an organisation helping the town's most vulnerable described its appeal. She said: “It’s popular with people with no money because it’s cheaper, it’s stronger, so a small amount lasts a lot longer.

“Two or three tokes and you’re in oblivion. People on it, they’re not in there any more. They can walk around but their face is flat, they’re not really hearing. Often they’re aggressive. Their empathy has been turned off.”

“It’s growing in popularity; it’s horrible to watch,” she added.

A few years ago the homeless in some of Blackpool’s most deprived areas would be using alcohol or heroin. Now spice is often their drug. In Blackpool, a gram costs between £5 and £10 – enough, Gavaghan said, “to make 20 spliffs that will get 40 people out of it.”

Blackpool resident Ryan Busby said: "I've seen people lying about, out of their heads that much that they don't even know who they are."

He said he's seen drug users "burning heroin and sniffing coke" near schools even in broad daylight.

Resident, Mick Channon said: "As far as supply and demand go – it's always there isn't it? Whatever new drug comes out – whether it's spice or coke."

Back in June, the Daily Star reported how locals living in the town received the unwelcomed title of 'The Unhealthiest Place to live in England' for the fifth consecutive year.

With high unemployment rates, drugs being sold on street corners and people overindulging in curry, the seaside town has developed a rather ominous reputation with both men and women ranked as having the worst life expectancy in the UK.

And with 769.7 crimes per 10,000 people, the famous coastal hotspot reported a whopping 10,849 violent crimes making it one of the most dangerous areas in the country.

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