Spice (Synthetic Cannabis) use among the homeless in England: A Scoping Review
Keywords:Homeless, England, Spice, Synthetic cannabinoids, Scoping review
Background: There is a significant area of concern in the use of spice among the homeless despite the enactment of the Psychoactive Substance Act (2016). The increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness in England suggests that this drug problem will continue. It is vital that we understand spice use among the homeless in order that appropriate support can be provided. The aim of this scoping review is to explore the use of Spice (synthetic cannabinoids) among the homeless people in England.
Methods: A systematic review of the literature published in England from 2015 to 2019 was carried out in August 2021 from the databases: Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), PubMed (MEDLINE), PSYCHINFO, Web of Science and Scopus, in order to identify eligible studies. Studies were screened by title and abstract, followed by a full text review. Arksey and O’Malley’s five stage methodological framework for scoping reviews was followed. Extracted data was charted, categorised, and summarised narratively.
Results: The scoping review process identified 13 studies for review. The data extraction process resulted in the identification of four themes: the characteristics of spice users; motivating factors for taking the drug; evidenced effects of taking the drugs among the homelessness; and policy/regulatory challenges of tackling the drug problem.
Conclusions and recommendation: The review highlights that homelessness reflects deep-rooted structural inequalities of society. The condition causes vulnerability which increases susceptibility to drug use. The study recommends addressing the homelessness problem in the first place as a health protection measure that could deter for drug use. Beyond this, health prevention and health education, through tailoring service provision to this vulnerable group is necessary.
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