At least half a ton of heroin is smuggled into Scottish jails every year, Scottish Labour claim.
They say prisoners are consuming a staggering 500 kilos of the Class A drug -- 10 times more than the amount seized by drug officers across all of Scotland last year.
The party's justice spokesman Richard Baker said around 1500 heroin addicts are getting access to the lethal substance in Scottish jails.
If they each use just six grams a week, that adds up to nearly 500 kilos a year and, according to party calculations, drugs worth £32.5 million are entering Scottish prisons annually.
Mr Baker made the shock claims ahead of Labour calling for tough new measures to stamp out drugs in prisons during their party conference in Oban this weekend.
His speech will include proposals to roll out the use of scanning devices and increase random searches.
He will also insist that anyone caught bringing drugs into prison should be prosecuted and banned from visiting again.
"Prison should be the last place in our society where it is possible to buy drugs," he said. "Drugs do not just magic their way into jail.
"We know convicts are devious when it comes to getting drugs in jail but it should not be beyond the wit of authorities to find out how they are getting in and do something about it.
"There are 1500 prisoners on heroin in jail every day. That's 1500 addicts looking for a fix every day. The volume of illegal substances in prisons should be of deep concern and action needs to be taken."
Action will be taken
He said "any action necessary" would be taken to get on top of the problem. "Labour will ensure anyone caught bringing drugs to prison should be prosecuted and barred from visiting again."
"We also need to see tougher searches of all those who enter prisons-with no one excluded. The use of scanning devices needs to rolled out along with random searches."
But a spokesman for the Scottish Prison Service last night rejected Labour's claims. "We do not know of any figures that would support this contention," he said.
"I have no idea what the basis for these figures is and they certainly do not reflect the experience of people dealing with addiction in prisons. Having spoken to a range of people dealing with this issue, nobody can recognise these figures or find any basis for them."
The Scottish Organised Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) seized 105 kilos of Class A drugs last year, but 51 kilos of that was cocaine.
That means only 54 kilos of heroin was among the haul, not even a tenth of the amount Labour believe was consumed in Scottish jails.
This week The Courier revealed inmates at Tayside's two open prisons are flooding them with contraband.
Prisoners at Castle Huntly and Noranside were caught with prohibited items at least 30 times in the past year. Items included class A drugs, pills, drug paraphernalia, pornographic DVDs and mobile phones.
October 28, 2010
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