Drug use among Ohio inmates is the highest it has been in more than a decade, according to The Columbus Dispatch. Most of the inmates who tested positive for drugs in 2012 used marijuana. The annual drug tests also found some positive results for opiates, cocaine and alcohol.
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction found 3.32 percent of the 6,828 drug tests conducted were positive, the article notes. If the 3.32 percent positive rate were expanded to cover the entire state prison population of almost 50,000, that would mean about 1,650 inmates were using drugs. “That is too high and absolutely unacceptable as part of security of a prison,” said Gary C. Mohr, Director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. “When we see an increase, it’s taken very seriously.”
The rate is almost double that of 2011, when 1.74 percent of drug tests were positive. The rate was 6.9 percent in 1990, but just 0.82 percent in 2006.
The largest increase in 2012 positive test results was seen among inmates who worked on prison farms, outside prison fences.
Todd Ishee, who works for the department, said people bring drugs into prisons through a variety of means, including soccer and tennis balls, clumps of dirt, or other items tossed into prison yards. Prison officials are trying to fight these tactics by installing more lights, cameras and motion detectors on fences. They also are increasing patrols of the prison perimeters, clearing out trees to make it more difficult to hide, and using drug-sniffing dogs.
Mohr noted some drugs are smuggled into prisons by corrections officers.