Manchester’s Nightmare

Recently, the Dutch media paid attention to the spice epidemic that has been sweeping through the streets of Manchester. The drug that has also been called synthetic weed, because of its outer resemblance to cannabis, vanished after the ban into the illegal circuit. Since then, England has been talking about ‘Manchester's zombie epidemic’. Due to the vehement action of the drug, users are transformed into the living dead.

These users are mostly homeless people. Manchester is struggling with a significant increase in people living on the street. There have been 11 times more rough sleepers since the Conservative Party took over in 2010. Meanwhile, about half of them is addicted to spice. According to various media, there is insufficient help and there are too few social facilities to help or accommodate the rough sleepers.

Piccadilly Gardens, a square in the heart of Manchester, is the epicenter of the crisis. Dutch photographer Maarten Delobel went to take a closer look and talked to addicts, non-addict rough sleepers and ex-users.