Following the publication of new data, a charity has warned that there has been an alarming seven-fold increase in the number of prisoners who have sought help for addiction to legal highs in the last year.
The Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust (RAPt) revealed that between April and September 2015, 622 prisoners sought help for addiction to New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) compared to just 87 in the same months in 2014. Concerns are also being raised about the distressing level of violence being witnessed behind bars as a result of this.
A former prisoner who said ‘spice’ is the term used for legal highs in prisons commented:
“It’s all spice in prison now. It’s only a very few hardcore users who persevere with heroin or crack. With spice, you’re out of your nut all day, it doesn’t show up on drug tests and it’s easily available. On the wings I was on, about half the people were using it.”
In 2014, the Centre for Social Justice interviewed prisoners and also reported some worrying findings. It was discovered that half of prisoners were using a type of NPS and that 20% were addicted to whatever they were using.
Speaking out about how to overcome these issues, Mike Trace, RAPt’s Chief Executive commented:
“Increased security and testing are important but to undermine the prison drug market in the long term, every prison should have a drug recovery wing. These wings maintain an anti-drug culture and provide intensive rehabilitation treatment to get prisoners free from drugs and ultimately, free from crime.”
Currently, only 3% of prisoners have access to full, intensive rehabilitation treatment.
If you think that you or someone you know could have an addiction to legal highs, please feel free to visit our Drug Addiction Treatment and Rehabilitation page for more information about the signs, symptoms and treatments that are available.