A mum-of-four who overcame a spice addiction says she wants to help other people who have struggled with addiction.
Charlotte Bavin was introduced to the drug on the streets of Lincoln and said it led her to a dark place.
Her addiction to the drug almost ruined her life and her relationship with her four children.
She told LincolnshireLive : “The problem in Lincoln seems to be getting worse, and something needs to be done to fix it.
“The council is doing all it can to make the city look nice, but then you see people sleeping in the streets with drug packets around them.
“If I was going to care for one of those people, I would like to understand their situation and why they have turned down the path that I went down.
“There is a much better life for these people than sleeping in a doorway.”
The 42-year-old previously developed a dependency to cans of high strength lager before moving on to smoking high-strength cannabis.
Drugs, she says, were an escape from the trauma she had suffered at a young age.
A former friend introduced her to synthetic cannabinoids – sometimes known as legal highs – which she used as a cheaper drug.
At one stage she travelled to Scunthorpe to stock up on £4 bags of spice before the shop closed down.
To make matters worse, one of her daughters was going in and out of the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham with a long-term bowel condition called ulcerative colitis.
“It was difficult for me to face going to the hospital – I felt ashamed that spice had taken over my life like this”, she said.
Charlotte claimed that she was then befriended by the supplier who gave her the 'reward' of getting spice for free – as long as she kept hold of his stash of drugs after his property was raided by police.
“I felt like I was winning at this point”, said Charlotte.
On September 7, she and her husband were arrested after the authorities discovered more than 170 ounces of Mamba underneath their garden decking.
The police find is understood to be the biggest seizure of Mamba in Lincolnshire since it was made a class B controlled drug in December 2016.
September 7 was significant for another reason – it was the day Charlotte eventually quit smoking Spice for good.
She told Lincolnshire Live: “Those three days and nights that I spent in a cell gave me a time to reflect upon what I was doing to myself.
“Spice had completely taken over my life and it prevented me from having the relationship with my kids that I really wanted.
"I wanted to live for something better than this.
“I felt ashamed that it had gotten to this stage. What had started as just an escape became something more.
“I had to change for my kids.”
Charlotte has since been clean for more than eight months and is now training to become a peer support worker.
The mother-of-four said that she was able to get herself out of her situation but said frequent visits to carers and counsellors ‘didn’t help’.
She added: “Counselling didn’t work for me. I kept getting referred to different people just as I was developing a bond with one of them.
"People in that situation need to get someone to help them every step of the way.
“There are not enough people employed to deal with the problem, which means that there is no consistency in care."
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