SPICE remains a problem in Bolton with no easy answer but work is being done to help those with other dependencies.

Services are on offer across the town to help with drug and alcohol abuse but those who frequently use the synthetic drug Spice do not tend to seek help.

Liz Johnson from Public Health Bolton said: “We do see spice in Bolton as an issue, it’s particularly in our homeless populations.

“It’s an issue for Bolton and Greater Manchester at the moment. We’re working with our recovery services to try and find answers.

“At the moment there’s nothing we can prescribe and it’s quite cheap and readily available.

“We aren’t seeing people that walk through for help with Spice.”

Ms Johnson was speaking to councillors at the most recent health overview meeting in the town hall.

However, Sue Longden, the interim director of Public Health Bolton said: “Stuart Ellison [Chief Superintendent for GMP] was talking about spice in Bolton and there’s a perception there’s more spice use than there is. There’s a big issue in Piccadilly Gardens but there’s a perception there’s more than there is in Bolton.”

Across Bolton there are 2,748 people with what Public Health calls a problematic drug issue and 3,768 alcohol dependent adults.

Around half of those with drug-abuse problems are in some sort of contact with health services compared to just 480 of those with an alcohol dependency.

Most of those seeking help for drug addiction (75 per cent) are using opiates like heroin.

Unfortunately, the mortality rates for both drug and alcohol users in Bolton are higher than the England average as are hospital admissions for alcohol-related illnesses said Ms Johnson. Although in line with those for the north west and similar boroughs.

The evidence in Bolton suggests there is an ageing cohort of people with drug and alcohol problems who have had a long period of dependency. They often have failing health owing to high levels of smoking, poor diet and substance misuse meaning they often have poor physical and mental health. An increased death rate among this demographic is a national problem.

A new service across Salford, Bolton and Trafford has been set up to help those with dependencies ­— Achieve Recovery Service, run by the the Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust (GMMH).

Achieve has a £40 million budget for the first five years and serves a population of 760,000 people.

When it launched Neil Thwaite, chief executive of GMMH, said that being a provider for both mental health and substance misuse is important for the trust, to ensure “no one slips through the gaps.”

One of the projects Achieve is running is a needle exchange service across 40 pharmacies in Bolton.

Another is improving the availability of the drug overdose treatment naloxone.

Naloxone is a drug that can reverse the effects of an opiate overdose and is given to drug addicts to carry with them like an EpiPen.