Category Archives: New Psychoactive Substances

Prison Nurses Passing Out Through Inhaling Spice – Containing Cockroach Killer

Nurses have been forced to suffer the effects of inhaling Spice, some batches of which have been found to contain cockroach killer, when administering emergency care to prison inmates.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said it has consulted withprison bosses who have agreed to improve the safety of healthcare staff who risk exposure to the deadly drug and other psychoactive substances.

Nurses and healthcare assistants are often first on the scene when inmates need emergency care, and under current guidance they are expected to enter cells before the dangerous smoke from the drug has cleared.

The effects can last for hours, with staff passing out, unable to administer medicine or drive home after shifts.

The HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) has agreed to work with the RCN to update its guidance so it reflects the reality of clinical staff dealing with unpredictable and dangerous psychoactive substances.

This will include guidance around responding to emergencies, particularly out of hours, as well as improved reporting guidelines.

New measures to improve staff safety will also be drawn up in a new best practice paper, with input from the RCN, HMPPS, the Prison Officers Association and other stakeholders.

To tackle the root of the problem, healthcare staff will have more involvement in HMPPS drugs task force, which has been set up to tackle the wider issues of supply and addiction in prisons.

Nurse and healthcare assistants will lead interventions with prisoners and use a variety of therapies to help them recover from addiction, which it is hoped will reduce the demand for drugs.

One prison nurse, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “There was a day when three people on my team couldn’t give medication because it wouldn’t have been safe due to the effects of Spice.

“Not only is our health being put at risk, but we can’t do our job properly and other people are missing out on care.

“Recently there was a batch of Spice with traces of cockroach killer in it so we really have no idea what harmful chemicals we’re inhaling as well as Spice.

“At the time your overwhelming concern is for the patient. What would happen if someone died because I refused to go in? It’s a horrible situation to be in. The reality is we’re looking out for our registration not our health.”

A normal heartbeat is 60 to 90 beats per minute but after smoking Spice healthcare staff have seen inmates with heartbeats of 140 to 180 beats per minute, meaning there is a real risk they could die.

Ann Norman, RCN professional lead for prison nursing, said: “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.

“This meeting is the first step on the road to improving conditions for dedicated nurses and healthcare assistants who are putting their safety on the line in the course of their duties.

“We will be working closely with HMPPS to ensure the safety of prison staff is properly accounted for in the revised guidance.”

A spokesman for the prison service said: “Our discussions with the RCN build on the work we are already doing to protect frontline staff.

“Prison officers are always the first to unlock and enter cells and healthcare staff are not allowed to enter if there is any risk to themselves. Any prison staff who feel unwell will be assessed on-site and treated if required.

“The best way to keep staff and inmates safe is to keep drugs out of our prisons. That is why we have trained more than 300 specialist drug dogs, introduced body scanners and intelligence-led searches, and made it a criminal offence to possess psychoactive substances in prison.

Tobacco costs twice as much as Spice

Prisoners can buy the drug known as Spice at half the cost of illicit tobacco behind bars, an inspection report reveals. Inmates at one jail described how the availability of drugs, coupled with a recently imposed smoking ban, had helped fuel a sense of “hopelessness”. Spice – a synthetic substance that mimics the effects of… Continue Reading

Prison Deaths From New Psychoactive Substances Rises To 79 Says Ombudsman

The number of prisoner deaths in which the use of new psychoactive substances (NPS) may have played a part has now risen to at least 79, said Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) Nigel Newcomen. Tonight (11/7/2017) he addressed the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Penal Affairs at the House of Lords. Looking back at his six-year… Continue Reading

Birmingham Prison – ‘The Worst Prison Riot Since Strangeways

Authorities have regained control of one of the country’s biggest jails after trouble described as the worst since the infamous 1990 Strangeways Prison riot. Hundreds of inmates were caught up in disorder after disturbances erupted across four wings of HMP Birmingham, lasting more than 12 hours. Riot squads were deployed to the category B jail… Continue Reading

HMP/YOI Moorland – New Psychoactive Substances Threat Level Raised To ‘Severe’

The availability of new psychoactive substances was threatening to undermine recent progress at Moorland, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the South Yorkshire resettlement prison. HMP/YOI Moorland holds around 1,000 prisoners, of whom around 250 are foreign national offenders and 340 are sex offenders.… Continue Reading

New Psychoactive Substances ‘playing a part in more prison deaths’, says Ombudsman

 The number of prisoner deaths in which the use of new psychoactive substances (NPS) may have played a part has now risen to at least 39, said Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) Nigel Newcomen. Today he spoke at an event, hosted by Reform, ‘New Psychoactive substances: a case for integration between health and criminal justice… Continue Reading

‘Shocking’ findings on jail violence and self-harm

The rising tide of violence and self-harm in prisons has been laid bare in new figures which reveal sharp increases in attacks and apparent suicides behind bars. A host of “shocking” findings provided a fresh indication of the scale of the task facing the Government in its efforts to reform jails. The data covering England… Continue Reading