A leading Scots drugs expert has called for prisoners to be given free cannabis to prevent them being “condemned to death” by Spice.
Psychoactive substances and former legal highs like Spice – a synthetic cannabis – have caused problems in jails.
Now pharmacologist Dr Stephanie Sharp, a co-founder of Glasgow Expert Witness Service, is calling for prisoners to be given the real thing because it is safer than psychoactive substances.
She also wants drugs, including heroin, to be legalised to prevent deaths.
A fatal accident inquiry is to be held into the death of a prisoner suspected of taking Spice at HMP Edinburgh.
Last year, we told how three Scots prison officers were rushed to hospital after inhaling smoke from the lethal “zombie” drug. HMP Addiewell warders were overcome by fumes after entering a cell where a prisoner had been smoking it.
Spice is a mixture of smokeable herbs and man-made chemicals – which can spark hallucinations and psychotic episodes.
Dr Sharp, who provides expert analysis in drugs cases, asked: “Why aren’t prisons able to give them cannabis? It is a much safer alternative. Psychoactive substances like Spice are illegal but all they have to do is change a chemical and they become legal again.
“Because we are not addressing the issue of psychoactive drugs, we are condemning people to death in prisons and on the streets.”
She said: “We should accept people will take drugs and we should keep them safe by allowing them to get it through pharmacists.”