The Royal College of Nursing has stated that they feel their NHS healthcare staff are being exposed to “unacceptable” conditions in prisons whilst treating inmates that are using the highly dangerous drug Spice.
This follows reports of nursing staff “passing out” from inhaling Spice drug fumes, whilst administering sometimes critical and life saving treatment to inmates within their cells.
HM Prison Services, Probation Service and The Prison Officers Association are now working together with the Royal College of Nursing to implement safety guidelines that will protect the UK's prison healthcare workers.
Prison Nurses Expected To Enter Spice Fume Filled Cells
Shockingly, reports have revealed that prison nurses are expected to enter the small holding cells that are thick with Spice fumes to administer treatment, rather than removing the prisoners from the cells before taking care of them or waiting for the smoke to clear.
Guidance for prison nursing staff will be updated in order to safeguard them from further exposure to the toxic fumes of Spice. This will include updated guidelines for emergency treatment and out of hours treatment, in addition to better recording and reporting of incidents.
The Royal College of Nursing staff’s professional lead, Ann Norman, stated:
The dangers posed by spice, both to prison healthcare staff and the patients they care for, cannot be overstated, these drugs kill. “Nursing staff have passed out or been left unable to drive after inhaling fumes in smoke-filled cells. This is unacceptable.
She further went on to say that working closely with the prison and probation services to tackle the dangerous climate is:
The first step in the road to improving conditions for dedicated nurses and healthcare assistance who are putting their safety on the line in the course of their duties
The Deadly Effects of Spice
Spice was originally sold as a herbal legal high, designed to mimic the effects of the drug Cannabis.
Due to a large number of individuals becoming addicted to Spice and reports of strong strains of Spice being sold that rendered users in a “zombie” like state, Spice was banned under the Psychoactive Substance Act 2016.
Spice users are turned into the “living dead” within minutes of use
The effects of Spice have been likened to the effects of Heroin and Crack Cocaine. Despite Spice now being classified under the Substance Misuse Act, it is stronger and more dangerous than ever before.
Spice is sold under different brand names and often mixed with highly toxic and addictive substances.
The Vice produced the following video, documenting the effects and impact of Spice; Spice still very much being a problem in the UK and rife in UK prisons.
Spice Use Increases in UK Prisons
A UK prison evaluation of Spice use in Britain's prisons by UserVoice, presented statistics revealing the following key findings:
- Drug use in prisons in England & Wales has reached record levels, with Drug possession almost doubled: up from 1,248 in 2010 to 2,255 in first 10 months of 2015.
- Spice seizures soared from 15 in 2010, to estimated 737 in 2014
- HMIP (2015) survey of 1,376 inmates of 8 prisons found top 2 drugs used were Cannabis (13%) & spice (10%)
- Spice was only drug for which levels of use were higher in prison than 2 months before prison. Spice was a concern in 2 in 3 male prisons in – almost double 2013/14 rate (HMIP 2015)
The research was presented by Dr Russell Newcombe and Lee Christensen, with 1,376 inmates participating in the survey.
Spice is a highly addictive substance and can kill. Those that use Spice, quickly become a slave to its addictive properties and suffer horrendous withdrawal symptoms that keep them using.
If you have a loved one or a family member that is suffering from a Spice addiction, please call Sober Services for private and professional help and treatment.
We have a wide range of first class addiction treatment services that can help any individual that is addicted to Spice to get clean. Even for those that do not want help to stop Spice, we can facilitate a professional intervention. Taking action now could potentially save a life.
Sources and references
- https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/z4je55/the-story-of-spice-the-street-drug-thats-not-going-away - Video
- https://slideplayer.com/slide/13186718/ stats on Spice in UK's prisons
- Image 1 : http://news.images.itv.com/image/file/672894/img.jpg
- Image 2 : Daily Mail U.K. on Twitter: "Spice is the synthetic drug that turns users into 'living dead' in minutes and is ruining lives across Britain https://t.co/BzYTuIwABO… https://t.co/KW4JQpt5JL"