So-called “legal” highs are contributing to violence in prisons and the amount of inmates admitted to hospital after using the drugs is rising.
A synthetic cannabinoid known as Black Mamba has caused so many prisoners to suffer seizures that they have to be rushed to A&E in ambulances that are dubbed “mambalances” by inmates at Walton and Altcourse prisons, the Liverpool Echo newspaper reported.
Another substance called Spice has contributed towards disorder in the institutions with both of the varieties are said to have been major factors in 210 assaults carried out in six months with 38 against staff members, according to the Mirror.
The dry shredded plant material with added chemical compounds looks almost identical to cannabis and mimics the effects of THC found in real weed.
Although synthetic cannabinoids were classified alongside cannabis as a Class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 in December 2009, according to Drugs Scope, inmates are able to pass them off as rolled tobacco and the substance cannot be detected in drug tests.
Symptoms such as feelings of paralysis, anxiety, paranoia, extreme hunger and fears of developing schizophrenia are felt after smoking the marijuana substitutes according to users who posted their experiences on drug advisory website Talk to Frank.
Prison Officers Association general secretary Steve Gillan told the Mirror: “Spice is a recipe for violence.
“It regularly puts people in hospital and appears out of control in our jails. We’ve seen a 37 per cent rise in attacks on staff.
“It’s a dangerous drug that is putting people in hospital on a growing basis.”
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