The police drug squad has been called to investigate the discovery of more synthetic drugs in a ward at Mount Carmel Hospital, The Sunday Times of Malta can reveal.
The drugs were found during a raid carried out by the hospital’s management on Friday evening following the hospitalisation of four patients from the same ward who had overdosed on synthetic drugs.
Sources close to the investigation believe that the man caught with the substances had “faked” his condition to be admitted to the psychiatric hospital with the intention of selling the drug.
He was allegedly found in possession of a total of five sachets. Some were hidden in his shoes and his bag, while other sachets were found on his person, including in his underwear.
Had the plans from five years ago been implemented, we wouldn’t have to wait another five
The sources said the police had been called in. However, the man was not taken into custody, as synthetic drugs are not yet illegal and no criminal action can be taken against him.
Sources close to the hospital said the latest drug find exposes the lack of proper security at the psychiatric hospital, which was one of the main points highlighted by the National Audit Office in a recent report on the state of affairs at Mount Carmel Hospital.
The audit team noted that security at the hospital’s main gate was lax, such that auditors had not only got into the hospital but were able to roam around freely without even being spoken to.
A source told this newspaper it was “very easy” to bring drugs into the hospital.
Patients are rarely checked, unless they are admitted to special wards for “high-risk” patients, such as the Seclusion Ward, which only takes four patients in separate units.
Male Ward 1, where four patients were found unconscious after an overdose on Thursday evening, has a mix of patients, including drug addicts. It holds a total of 22.
The sources said there was a special unit for drug addicts but this only takes eight patients and is full most of the time.
The Democratic Party has criticised the government for only now admitting a new psychiatric hospital is needed. It was reacting to Health Minister Chris Fearne’s announcement that the government will build a new mental health hospital. PD MP Godfrey Farrugia, health minister under the previous administration, said that he had proposed building a new mental health hospital with EU funds but the government shelved the idea.
“The irony of it all is that, had the detailed plans set out by the then health minister five years ago been implemented, we wouldn’t have to wait around another five years to have the new hospital,” he said.
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