Concealment of drugs by police detainees : lessons learned from adverse incidents and from ‘routine’ clinical practice

HAVIS, Siobhan, BEST, David and CARTER, Jane (2005). Concealment of drugs by police detainees : lessons learned from adverse incidents and from ‘routine’ clinical practice. Journal of Clinical Forensic Medicine, 12 (5), 237-241.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcfm.2005.01.010
Link to published version:: 10.1016/j.jcfm.2005.01.010

Abstract

This is a collaborative piece of work undertaken between the PCA and a Principal FME. The study is based on 16 cases of internal drug concealment drawn from 43 drug-related deaths in custody in England and Wales between 1997 and 2002. These data are supplemented by three case studies from a county force involving non-fatal drug concealment to illustrate practical custody issues. The majority of the 16 deaths were white (n = 12) and male (n = 13) with a mean age of 34 years. In half of the cases, the deceased was known or believed to have concealed drugs orally at the point of initial contact with police. In 4/16 cases, the individual first showed signs of medical distress in a public place, a further 4 collapsed on arrival at the police station and two more detainees were subsequently found collapsed in their cell. Drug toxicity was the most common cause of death (10/16). In 5 cases death was caused by airway obstruction by swallowed packages. Both cocaine (14/16) and cannabis (8/16) traces were found in post-mortem samples. The report emphasises the need for a safety first approach.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Law and Criminology Research Group
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.jcfm.2005.01.010
Depositing User: Hilary Ridgway
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2015 12:32
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2015 12:32
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/9550

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