Tuesday 18 June 2019

Prohibition doesn't prohibit - prison edition

The erstwhile legal high Spice was banned in the UK in 2016. At around the same time, a ban on smoking in English prisons began to be phased in. Scottish prisons followed suit in November 2018.

Action on Smoking and Health predicted that the smoking ban wouldn't lead to prison riots. It led to a lot of prison riots. Violence in prisons is now at an all-time high.

And now we discover that...

Prison staff are falling ill from spice drug fumes

More than a third of prison officers and nurses have felt ill as a result of inhaling second-hand smoke from the drug known as spice that is plaguing jails.

A survey of more than 1,600 members of prison staff found that 53 per cent had been exposed to psychoactive substances taken by prisoners; 39 per cent said that they had felt unwell from the effects of the drugs, with 97 per cent of those affected reporting symptoms including dizziness and confusion.

Great success! Is there any problem that prohibition can't exacerbate?

In May, a group of activist-academics in Scotland found that levels of tobacco smoke had fallen in Scotland, and said:

“This research confirms that exposure to second-hand smoke has been drastically reduced and, ultimately, this will have a positive impact on the health of prison staff and prisoners.”

Meanwhile, back in the real world:

Scotland’s jails are in the grip of a new drugs crisis with the number of prisoners needing medical attention rising five fold in the last three years.

More than 1,600 prisoners needed medical attention after using psychoactive substances – formerly known as legal highs – last year.

And the number of cases continues to increase – with 1,100 prisoners affected already this year.

Banning smoking in prisons has caused the problem to escalate, warders say, with inmates now using government-issued e-cigarette devices to inhale the drugs.

Perhaps the authorities will now ban e-cigarettes, thereby further increasing the risk of violence?

Prison officers say the situation across the country’s jails is already out of control.

One said: “We seen prisoners foaming at the mouth and rampaging around with their eyes bulging out of their heads.

“Others look as if they are zombies.

“They exhibit super-human strength and are just completely out of control – it’s like walking into a zombie apocalypse.

“They don’t feel pain. We’ve seen then inflicting terrible injuries on themselves and others.”

Spice and other drugs are substitutes for tobacco. Tobacco has a calming effect on people, but the simple and effective solution of repealing the ban, at least outdoors, will never be entertained because British lawmakers are in the grip of fanaticism.

And so the carnage will continue.

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