A Northamptonshire police chief says targeting ‘hard drug’ use will always be the force’s top priority, despite a charity’s fears that cannabis is now as easy to get hold of as tobacco.
Service manager for the CAN Young People’s Team, Ali Smith, said the class B drug was now too easy to acquire in Northampton and it could have devastating side effects on teenagers.
She said: “Years ago this was so much less of a problem. We saw little bits of cannabis, but not on the regular scale we see now. The stats are that young people are now using more.”
Mrs Smith said cannabis was the biggest substance the St Giles Street centre – which provides a range of drug, alcohol and homelessness services for young people – deals with.
She said it could be especially harmful because young people were taking it as their bodies were still developing: “There’s a lot going on with young people,when you throw into that a strong hallucinogenic, it has a massive impact.”
Supt Mick Stamper, head of the Northamptonshire Police’s operational command unit, admitted the ‘culture’ of cannabis was a problem in young people, in particularly a misconception that it will cause little harm.
But he said the force will always have to prioritise targeting class A drugs, such as cocaine and heroin over the class B substance.
He said: “Cannabis is a harm to the individual, but a cannabis user will rarely cause harm to other people.
“A class A user will cause harm to other people. On a societal level this is a big issue.”
Northamptonshire Police uncovered 116 cannabis factories in the county between 2012 and 2013.