patients welcome sniffer dogs to find illegal drugs on psychiatric
March 15, 2007
and patients of psychiatric units in London have welcomed the use
of police sniffer dogs to find illegal drugs on their wards, it
has been reported.
dogs were used in 16 police searches of nine wards run by the Camden
and Islington Mental Health Trust over 12 months, the Hampstead
and Highgate Express newspaper reported.
found two crack pipes and two cannabis joints.
police took dogs to the Highgate Mental Health Centre in Dartmouth
Park Hill, Highgate, and the Huntley Centre at St Pancras Hospital,
trust spokesman told the newspaper earlier this month that it was
part of an ongoing attempt to ensure patients were kept safe. In
the past, staff used breathalysers to check patients had not been
Jones, director of nursing at the trust, was reported as saying:
"We are pleased the use of drug dogs on our wards has been
well received by service users and staff.
is great reflection of the fact that everyone has a right to be
treated and work on wards without the spectre of illicit drugs being
use of drugs such as cannabis is known to have a detrimental effect
on those recovering from mental illness and is a problem we want
initial effectiveness of the pilot scheme has been encouraging.
We will continue to carefully monitor the impact and seek the views
of service users and staff."
questionnaire that prompted the scheme found half of staff and patients
had seen drugs being used on the wards.
a report to the trust's board, researchers said they believed the
small amount found could be because patients no longer stashed their
drugs but instead used them immediately.
report also highlighted an increase in the use of khat, the highly
addictive chewing leaf used widely in West Africa.
found that cannabis was the most widely used drug on mental health
wards and that there had been an increase in the number of people
found smoking it over the past year. But researchers said this was
also because of a change in the way incidents were reported.
do you think? Email your comments on the above
article to the editor using the form below. Selected comments will
© 2001-7 Psychminded Limited. All
about this article