Six inmates were rushed to hospital after taking a dodgy batch of legal highs dropped into a prison by a DRONE, it emerged yesterday (Tue).
Paramedics, as well as the air ambulance, dashed to HMP Oakwood in Featherstone, Staffs., after reports of prisoners collapsing in their cells.
They were taken to hospital last Thursday (5/5) morning where they were treated after suffering a bad reaction to the new psychoactive substances – known as NPS.
Prison chiefs are investigating reports the legal highs were dropped into the prison from the skies after a drone was spotted hovering over the Category C jail.
Director John McLaughlin said: “On Thursday, May 5, two prisoners were taken to hospital but returned to HMP Oakwood soon afterwards.
“Lethal highs and synthetic drugs pose a threat to the safety of prisoners and undermine our regime.
“They have no place in our community and we will always work with police to take action against prisoners and their criminal associates outside who try and bring them into Oakwood.
“I would like to thank prison staff and our healthcare colleagues from Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust for their prompt action in response to this incident, which serves as a warning to everyone in our community of the dangers of these kinds of substances.”
As well as ambulance crews, an area response team, emergency planner and the Midlands Air Ambulance were all sent to the prison.
Murray MacGregor, spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service, said: “We were called at 10.44am on Thursday to six patients who had apparently taken some sort of illicit substance.
“Two patients were taken to New Cross Hospital and four patients were discharged.”
South Staffordshire MP Gavin Williamson is demanding more action to stop drugs being smuggled into the prison.
He said: “What it does go to show is how more and more needs to be done to crack down on illicit contraband going into prisons and sentences for those who are found using them and dealing them in prisons.
“People who are found using substances should see substantial extensions to their sentences and those who are helping to facilitate getting it into prison should be facing a very long prison sentence.
“It has gone from visitors handing over contraband to people throwing contraband over the fences to drones being used.”
It is the latest scandal to hit the £150million prison, which opened in 2012 and houses 1,605 inmates.
In 2014 the jail was dubbed ‘Jokewood’ after a damning report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons.
It also found the jail had inexperienced staff and high levels of violence and self-harm amongst inmates.
Inspectors found a vast array of illicit drugs were “easily available” including heroin, cannabis style drug Black Mamba and Subutex, an opium substitute.
Inmates were also found to brewing illicit ‘hooch’ in their cells and drinking booze thrown over the prison fence.
Inspectors found hard core pornography was allowed on cell walls, despite the jail holding some 300 sex offenders.