If prison officials in the UK did not already have enough trouble to worry about, they now have an additional problem by way of synthetic cannabis. Use of the product among prisoners has grown rapidly over the years to the point of some former prisoners telling The Guardian that the average prison is rife with the drug.
Synthetic cannabis is known on the street as ‘spice’ or ‘black mamba’. You can buy it at head shops throughout Britain, despite the fact that it is illegal for human consumption. Head shop owners get around the law by selling the product as either bath salts or plant food. They know full well their customers are not taking the stuff home to use in compliance with the law.
As for UK prisoners, they are getting their hands on synthetic cannabis by way of smuggling or family members and friends throwing it over the wall. And if you think the guards would have an easy time identifying synthetic cannabis because of the smell, think again. Synthetic cannabis does not have a distinctive odour like the real stuff. It is easily mistaken for rolled leaf tobacco.
Growing Health Problem
Prison officials are alarmed over the proliferation of synthetic cannabis in the nation’s jails. They say the drug is causing serious health concerns in at least 28 facilities in Britain. Some former prisoners are saying that those using the substance are having incredible psychotic episodes that require, at the very least, intervention by emergency medical services. They say it is not uncommon for ambulances to come and go regularly at some prisons.
The main health problems associated with synthetic cannabis are psychosis, seizures, irregular heartbeat, and loss of motor control. Experts suggest that using the drug can even exacerbate existing conditions in some people. In other words, synthetic cannabis can cause a heart attack in someone who is already suffering from some sort of heart malfunction.
According to The Guardian, some 13 cases of synthetic cannabis related illnesses were reported by just one prison during a two-week period this past March. In five of those cases, the complications were so severe that inmates were taken directly to a local hospital.
Furthermore, synthetic cannabis is every bit as addictive as any other psychoactive drug. Most users do not believe that, which is why they feel free to use the drug without fear of any adverse consequences. By the time an individual realises he or she is addicted, it’s too late.
Just Stay Away
There are very good reasons why synthetic cannabis and other ‘legal highs‘ are illegal for human consumption. They are highly addictive, physically dangerous and have the potential to do a lot more harm than most people expect. The only right way to approach these drugs is to just stay away from them.
If you are using spice or black mamba, consider this: the individuals manufacturing these substances are not interested in your health or well-being. They are interested in making money. If a particular batch does not come out as pure as intended, it’s of no consequence to them. Even more alarming is the fact that some manufacturers will purposely add fillers to their recipes in order to make more money. The additional ingredients pose an extra measure of danger if, for no other reason, than the fact that users do not know what they are.
We hope UK prison officials can get a handle on the synthetic cannabis addiction problem in our jails. In the meantime, we urge you to stay away from these drugs as well. It is not worth ruining your life just to enjoy a momentary high.