Why are synthetic drugs such a problem for the UK’s prisons?

Spice, and other synthetic drugs, are spreading through UK prisons at a rate that the authorities are struggling to respond to. The Open University’s David Scott explains why.

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Copyright free: US Navy
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Copyright: BBC

‘Chemical comforts’

Drug taking in prison should be considered against two of the most painful harms of imprisonment: the conscious experience of time and the loss of personal autonomy. It is well documented that prison life is both highly regulated and filled with emptiness. Drugs distort time and prisons are all about the wasting and loss of time. Many prisoners attempt to suspend time and find ways to manage life in this meaningless and dehumanising penal abyss.

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