Prisons based in Scotland have seen a surge in Drugs seizures.
Cases now show that there has been an 18 fold increase in the amount of drug seizures within the Prisons.
Some Prison Officers have said that the increase could also be due to prisoners turning to drugs during the pandemic as their family visits were stopped.
These substances include such drugs such as synthetic cannabinoid or as it is known as “Spice”, and “street” benzodiazepines, such as Etizolam, are now thought to be the dominant drugs in prisons.
Etizolam, a benzodiazepine drug known as fake Valium is known to be much stronger than prescription drugs.
Recent news has revealed that these drugs are often being sneaked into the premises through drug soaked clothing, or even through letters to the prisons before being smoked and evidence destroyed.
The quantities of the drugs involved in each incident have not been released.
One serving officer at a large Scottish jail said: “The prisoners don’t know the strength of this stuff from one batch to another, so it’s proper Russian roulette territory.
“Detection is difficult when its sold in postage-stamp sized quantities and then cut up even smaller.
“It’s hard to deal with at times, especially when prisoners are so unpredictable, but you have to remember it’s no different to what you are seeing on schemes up and down the country.”
David Mackie, a retired sheriff and chairman of penal reform charity Howard League Scotland, warned the drug trade in jails was having an “impact way beyond the walls of the prison”.
He said: “If somebody is in prison being supplied with drugs which are costing three to five times what they cost outside, how is that person paying for that drugs? Because he won’t have the money in prison.
“It is almost certain that person’s family may be put under pressure to either raise the money and pay for the drugs or do something for the organised crime groups.”
The awash of drugs now surging through the Scottish Prisons is now seen to be linked with the high amount of violence.
The Scottish Prison Service said it was aware of problems highlighted in the report and that action was being taken.
The human rights organisation visited five prisons – Barlinnie, Cornton Vale, Edinburgh, Grampian and Shotts – as well as police custody facilities.
It highlighted overcrowding, particularly at Barlinnie and Grampian – where there was a temporary tripling up of cells, with inmates sleeping on mattresses under bunk beds.
The report said: “The CPT noted the gradual rise of inter-prisoner and inmate-on-staff violence (notably in Edinburgh Prison), which was officially attributed to a combination of the increase in use of Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS), mental health issues and organised crime.”
SPS Spokesman Tom Fox said “We have seen a rising trend in the last couple of years of people trying to introduce these substances into our prisons.
“They are very difficult to detect, although I am happy to say we seem to be making some progress in that direction.
“We are currently piloting new technology and working with the University of Dundee on new ways of trying to identify these substances as they are being introduced.”
The Scottish Prison Service said it has invested in new ways to detect drugs.