Chief inspector of prisons attributes deaths, serious illness and self-harm to cannabis substitutes ‘spice’ and ‘black mamba’

Synthetic cannabis is having a “devastating impact” in British prisons and making it difficult for normal life to continue in some facilities, the chief inspector of prisons has said.

Sold as “spice” and “black mamba”, synthetic cannabis has been blamed for deaths, serious illness and episodes of self-harm among inmates, and some prison officers have reported falling ill from exposure to the fumes.

Synthetic cannabis is an umbrella term for hundreds of chemical compounds that mimic the effects of THC, the active ingredient of cannabis, in the brain. The synthetic forms are often extremely potent, making them a greater threat to users and those around them. A report from the prisons and probation ombudsman last year linked 19 prison deaths between 2012 and 2014 with synthetic cannabis, by far the most common of the new psychoactive substances (NPS).

Unlike traditional resin and weed, synthetic cannabis is manufactured in labs and is usually odourless, making it hard for prison staff to tell when inmates are smoking the drugs.

article from The Guardian.

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