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Prisoners given leaflets on how to take "spice" safely

Photo: MEN Syndication

Prisoners in Salford are being routinely handed leaflets on how to ‘safely’ take dangerous illegal drugs such as Spice.

The pamphlet - distributed to inmates when they order items such as toiletries and cigarettes - details an 11-point checklist of ‘safety rules’ for taking ‘new psychoactive substances’, which were outlawed last April.

Credit: MEN Syndication

While it says the best way to avoid danger is not to take the substances at all, it then goes on to explain a range of ways to do so safely.

Advice includes ‘chopping up’ powders finely before snorting, not sharing needles, only using one drug at a time and details of how to look after fellow prisoners who have overdosed.

As part of that it features a diagram of how to put someone in the recovery position.

A prisoner who was released last week who said the leaflets were being routinely handed out to inmates alongside their ‘canteen’ - the name for the system used by prisoners to buy goods such as cigarettes, chocolate, phone credit and stamps.

Among other advice, it tells prisoners:

If you snort, chop powders finely first. Don’t inject, but if you do, don’t share works with other people.

– Forest Bank leaflet

It also advises people to start ‘with a really small amount’, to ‘anticipate what could go wrong’, not to take too much or too often and not to take the drugs alone.

At the end it says:

Look after people who have overdosed in the same way you would want them to look after you.

– Forest Bank leaflet

NPS is the official name for substances such as Spice, usually ‘synthetic cannabinoids’ that are smoked or snorted and until last year could be bought legally in shops across Greater Manchester. In April the government banned them.

Forest Bank’s leaflet appears to be giving outdated advice, however, suggesting they are still legal - by warning that some NPS ‘also contain illegal drugs’ and prisoners could therefore ‘be breaking the law without knowing it’.

It’s a regular event having to rush people to hospital. Every day there’s two or three.

– Former prisoner

He described seeing drones fly up to the windows of inmates, before prisoners ‘kicked the windows out and lifted the drugs into the cell’. Every few days a prison cherry picker patrols in the space between the prison wall and the fence to pick up drugs dropped by drones, he added.

A second prisoner described the jail as ‘ruthless and lawless’, with Spice common currency and wardens unable to deal with the scale of the problem.

In October an investigation was launched after leaked footage revealed the violence and humiliation sparked by Spice use in Forest Bank - including naked prisoners pretending to be dogs .

Sodexo, the private firm that runs Forest Bank, has been asked to comment.