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Pointing out that cheap synthetic cannabinoids like spice are both available and potentially deadly, Jones, 66, suggested that cannabis would pose less risk.
“If they’re on opioids, why can’t they be prescribed cannabis?” said the commissioner, who is not seeking re-election, according to The Guardian. “At the end of the day, opioids are a damn sight more dangerous than cannabis.”
In 2014, Johns Hopkins reported that opioid-related overdose deaths in legal states at the time “was about 25 percent lower, on average, than the rate in states without these laws.” A B.C. study released late last year found that cannabis use among people undergoing opioid agonist therapy for opioid use disorder was associated with lower exposures to potentially deadly fentanyl.
Jones tweeted on Sunday that it’s “time to think outside the box” if government and prison authorities are “serious about reducing violence and organised crime within the prison estate.”
One tweet in response to the article noted: “Introducing drug testing in prisons led directly to rise in spice use & the chaos that has brought to the prison system. I’ve learnt a lot working with prison staff & almost all support the removal of testing & return to a ‘blind eye’ to cannabis use.”
A 2019 government report noted: “Drug misuse is prevalent and contributes to violence, crime and vulnerability within prisons, which threatens safety and the ability of our hard-working prison staff to deliver effective regimes. We will not be able to improve safety, prevent reoffending and tackle serious and organised crime without reducing the misuse of drugs in prisons.”
The idea of trialing free cannabis in prisons was first floated by a pharmacologist almost three years ago.
Beyond improving conditions for inmates and staff, supplying cannabis in controlled conditions might help reduce the incidence of drug smuggling into U.K. facilities, Jones said.
The number of times drugs were found in U.K. prisons increased 18 per cent to 21,575 in 2019-20. And an almost two-decades-old study determined that “prisons are a high-risk environment for heroin and other drug initiation and use.”
In a July 2016 fact sheet, IT systems provider Illy Systems reported that spice and Black Mamba–synthetic cannabinoids had become the most popular drugs in U.K. prisons. One in three prisoners reported having used one of the substances in the previous month, the information notes.
Recreational cannabis continues to be illegal in the U.K.
Written by Angela Stelmakowich.
View the original article at here.