Prisons: Drugs

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 9th January 2018.

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Photo of Paul Williams Paul Williams Labour, Stockton South

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to protect prison officers from exposure to new psychoactive substances.

Photo of Sam Gyimah Sam Gyimah The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Higher Education), Minister of State (Education)

HMPPS’ priority is to reduce any potential use or secondary exposure to Psychoactive Substances (PS) by drug supply prevention, reduction and detection.

Intelligence and security procedures are available to activate strategies including lock-down searches and the use of dog teams to detect and reduce supply. Co-operation and liaison with police and CPS at local and national level is also ongoing, to work on prosecutions and supply intelligence.

In October health and safety guidance was published which brought together existing procedures for the control of exposure to all airborne contaminants in prisons.

In order to establish an evidence-base for reported exposures to staff, experts have been appointed to undertake air sampling to identify and assess concentrations, if any, of PS in prison wings and this program is due to start as a pilot in one prison in January 2018.

HMPPS continues to monitor and investigate apparent adverse effects of PS exposure and to seek to ensure that methods to reduce supply are fully implemented.

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