Products containing synthetic cannabinoids are gaining popularity among the inmate population in Britain, posing another challenge for the prison authorities.
Over the previous decade, synthetic marijuana has grown from a curious novelty into a mainstream product well-known to practically anyone. It is not a surprise that products such as ‘Spice’ are increasingly used in penitentiaries – after all, illegal drugs were always present inside the prison walls, despite the efforts to keep them out. As it turns out, synthetic cannabinoids are currently the drug of choice for many inmates – and according to the authorities, they are causing a lot of problems.
Debts, bullying and violence are common behind bars and drugs often play a role. The arrival of cannabinoids to the scene hasn’t change the basic dynamic in this sense, though it may have intensified it a notch. There are numerous involving synthetic cannabinoids, ranging from instances of self-harming to accidental deaths. In fact, cannabinoids were determined to have played a role in 19 deaths taking place inside of the prison system between 2012 and 2014, far more than any other type of drugs. That’s kind of bizarre, since cannabinoids were originally invented to circumvent the legal ban on supposedly dangerous marijuana.
Of course, psychoactive substances of this kind were never legal in prisons. However, these chemicals are typically odorless when stored or smoked, making their detection much harder. This is probably one of the main reasons why inmates prefer cannabinoids to natural marijuana or other drugs, despite the unforeseeable dangers associated with uncertain chemical composition and inconsistent potency. Restrictive measures, such as frequent drug testing and use of sniffing dogs to locate hidden drugs inside the cells, have failed to slow down the rise of cannabinoids, with significant quantities still getting past the guards in one way or another.
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