Spice epidemic must be tackled in prisons as well as communities, expert warns

Dr Ruth Tully is pictured.
Dr Ruth Tully is pictured.

As Operation ‘Halifax’ gains momentum across the county to tackle the production and supply of spice, Derbyshire-based forensic psychologistDr Ruth Tully has warned that the issue needs tackling both in the community and in prisons.

Over the last 12 months, reports of spice and black mamba use have hit the headlines on numerous occasions, with Operation Halifax officially launched on June 12.

These drugs were formerly called ‘legal highs’, and they were designed to mimic cannabis.

But the drugs have different chemicals in them, which are now illegal can havdifferent and unpredictable harmful effects compared to cannabis. These drugs are sometimes called ‘novel psychoactive substances’, or NPS.

The ongoing investigation into disrupting and dismantling the supply of drugs like spice may have begun, but residents in various towns including Chesterfield have become increasingly concerned about the drug and its use at a local level.

Dr Tully, who has given advice in court for trials relating to violent crime and drug use, said “Spice and Mamba use has hit alarming levels all over the UK- not just in Derbyshire. Re-offending rates for crimes involving the drug also need tackling because the use of the drug in prison is rife.Offenders are going into prison, and still taking the drug. I have worked with people who have used spice and sadly who have died as a result.

“The biggest problem in prisons is that the drugs are getting in. Drugs get into prisons through being smuggled in, and previously a main method was people throwing them over the prison walls.

“Modern technology has had an impact with drones flown over the prison walls to supply the drugs. Even more astounding, is that some prisoners are driven to re-offend so that they can go back into prison in order to smuggle more drugs back in. This issue needs tackling in the prison service, and in the community.”