At one time, upon hearing the word ‘spice’, you’d think of something to flavour your food, the Spice Girls or Old Spice shaving lotion.
Now it’s an image of people slumped in shop doorways or passed out cold on the street.
Once you’ve seen a sight like that, even if it’s just in the papers or on TV, there’s no going back.
It’s a gut-wrenching, flesh-creeping sight, and, what’s more, it’s very sad that people can be reduced to literally lying in the gutter.
Emergency services are already chock-a-block and when they’re not around, the onus is on passers-by who aren’t equipped to deal with such casualties and don’t know what to do for the best.
One thing is clear, it’s got to stop, but where do you start?
In my, (admittedly inexpert), view, there doesn’t need to be a big awareness campaign.
No, there needs to be a massive one, particularly focussed on those likely to succumb, such as the homeless and those with unresolved mental health and stress-related issues.
Co-ordinated efforts by the NHS, police force, social services, the council and charities that are already in place need to, unfortunately, be ramped up even further and be more evenly distributed, if at all feasible.
In an ideal world, we could make 1,001 suggestions, but we don’t live in an ideal world, so we can only do our best.
It’s going to require a lot of money, a lot of hard work and the wisdom of Solomon to get on top of it after all.
At the very least, pedestrians can do their bit by refraining from giving money to, for example, the guy who approaches you pleading starvation and asking if you could give him some cash to buy a bag of chips. Chances are, it’s not the chip shop he’s heading for.