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Hindley prisoners in hospital after 'taking legal high'

HM Prison Hindley Image copyright Google
Image caption Three inmates at HM Prison Hindley were treated at Wigan Infirmary after they were believed to have taken a so-called legal high

Three prisoners suspected to have taken so-called legal highs at one prison had to be resuscitated and taken to hospital, a report says.

Two inmates at HMP Hindley in Wigan "stopped breathing" after being found "acting strangely". Another man suffered a cardiac arrest.

The incidents, detailed in an official report seen by the BBC, occurred between 1 and 3 January.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said the three received immediate treatment.

The Prison Service Daily Operations Report recorded three incidents at HMP Hindley, which houses both young offenders and adults, labelled "deliberate self harm".

'Bouncing off the walls'

A man on D wing was described by prison staff as "behaving erratically" and "bouncing off the walls". They believe he took a new psychoactive substance (NPD) or "legal high" on 1 January.

He was restrained and suffered a cardiac arrest. Paramedics and healthcare staff restarted his heart, the report said.

The prisoner, who was taken to Wigan Infirmary, discharged himself the next day against medical advice and returned to jail.

The next morning, staff found another man in J wing lying on his bed "acting strangely" and "incoherent".

He was also believed to have taken a legal high. He was resuscitated by paramedics and taken to Wigan Infirmary for observation.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Legal highs are proving difficult to detect in prisons, according to the prisons ombudsman

Officers found a third prisoner in F wing on 3 January who was believed to have been "suffering from the effects" of a substance. He was also resuscitated and taken to hospital for treatment.

A spokesman for the MoJ said governors use sniffer dogs, cell searches and mandatory tests to find drugs in prison.

"However, it's clear we need to do more," he added.

"The Justice Secretary has asked the Ministry of Justice to look at how we can ensure prisons have the right tools in place to tackle this problem."


'Legal highs'

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Legal highs can be smoked, snorted or swallowed

Sold in a variety of forms including powder, pills, liquids, capsules and smoking mixtures. They can be smoked, snorted or swallowed

  • The substances are often sold in "head shops" alongside drug paraphernalia
  • Because they cannot be labelled as being for human consumption, they are often marketed as plant food, bath salts or incense
  • There were 97 recorded deaths from legal highs in the UK in 2012, rising from 12 in 2009, according to figures from the Centre for Social Justice
  • The independent think tank says the UK has the highest number of legal high users among young people in Europe

What are legal highs?

Does banning legal highs work?


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