Eight prisoners are described as in a critical condition after ketamine – a drug destined for horses – was smuggled into the Castelo Branco prison at the weekend, and taken by the men, all sharing the same wing, and reported to be between the ages of 24 and 53.
The eight are all described as being “ventilated”, with five in a worse condition than others.
It is not known yet how the men came to be in possession of the drug, which gives people who take it “psychedelic” experiences.
The first prison guards were aware that prisoners were being taken ill was around lunchtime on Saturday, which suggests they could have been given the drug during morning visiting hours.
Symptoms include “violent convulsions, vomiting and cardiorespiratory arrest”.
As Diário de Notícias explains, it is “yet another story that puts Castelo Branco prison at the centre of attentions”.
“Recently around 10 cars belonging to guards and members of staff were vandalised” and in “the same week superglue was introduced into all the locks of the administrative offices”.
The glue attack was so intense that “the door of the prison director Fátima Jerónimo” had to be replaced.