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This week, with the extortionate cost of drugs in prisons, we’ll discuss how prisoners get around this by making homemade drugs.
#1 – Nitrus Oxide or Laughing Gas, also known as “Hippy Crack” is sold in those nasty little finger-sized silver canisters you see crushed on the ground outside schools, which is meant for making whipped cream and inflating balloons, but any numpty without a brain inhales it to get high. Such is the UK Law, it’s legal to buy nitrus oxide… but it’s illegal to supply it for human consumption, as although Nitrus Oxide brings about feelings of euphoria and relaxation, it also bursts brain cells and can lead to anaemia and serious nerve damage. Nitrus is easy to smuggle into prison, but again, the canister will smell of a man’s ass as will the gas.
#2 – Chemically-Laced Photographs or Paper; to buy-pass the prison screening process, families and friends send prisoners photos of family photos or children’s drawings laced with cocaine, ecstasy, heroin or spice (or in the USA, it’s mostly Subutex, as the country is riddled with an opioid epidemic), many prisoners soak the paper in water or alcohol and drink that, they can crumble it up and smoke it, or they simply eat the paper. Prisons are aware of this and all letters/photos are screened.
3. Spice, the synthetic cannabinoid, also known as the Zombie Drug, which can create a feeling of relaxation, but also delusions, paranoia and psychosis. Homemade spice has been made in prison using all manner of lethal substances such as cleaning products, insect repellent and nail varnish remover. Once soaked on paper, it is then dried and smoked, causing hallucinations, nausea, confusion and psychosis, with a credit card sized piece of spiced paper selling for £20-50.
4. Toilet Wine; a strong and disgusting homemade alcohol made from water, fruit, sugar and mouldy bread to make it ferment, and although it can be very potent, many prisoners have been hospitalised, suffering from all kinds of sickness from stomach cramps, all the way up to botulism, which can cause severe paralysis. Kurt Cobain? (unintelligible) “ehyyyyy”). Well… if you say so.
5. Medications. Many prisoners are prescribed medications for disorders such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar and insomnia, as well as addiction to heroin or amphetamines, and these drugs are highly prised on the prison black market. And although their distribution is supervised, even if the drugs are administered by the prison doctor and dissolved in a cup of water, prisoners have been known to spit it back out in private, dry it and re-sell the drugs.
6. Crack Sticks. With many UK prisons having gone smoke-free since 2008 and some buying in vape kits to pacify those with a nicotine habit (urgh dirty), some prisoners make what they call a crack stick, where they remove the vape’s filter, giving them a stronger nicotine high and replace it with all manner of noxious substances, like cleaning products, alcohol or spice.
And finally 7. Parachuting. This is a cheap homemade high where prisoners soak a piece of paper in black coffee until it is completely saturated and then smoke that.
If you found this interesting? Check out the Mini Mile episodes of the Murder Mile UK True-Crime Podcast, or click on the link below to listen to an episode.
Michael J Buchanan-Dunne is a writer, crime historian, podcaster and tour-guide who runs Murder Mile Walks, a guided tour of Soho’s most notorious murder cases, hailed as “one of the top ten curious, quirky, unusual and different things to do in London”, nominated "one of the best true-crime podcasts at the British Podcast Awards 2018", and featuring 12 murderers, including 3 serial killers, across 15 locations, totaling 50 deaths, over just a one mile walk
Michael J Buchanan-Dunne is a crime writer, podcaster of Murder Mile UK True Crime and creator of true-crime TV series.
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