Nearly 4 percent of Ohio Prison Inmates Test Positive for Drugs
By Joanna Richards
Officials from a state watchdog group were working on a report about illegal drug use inside of Ohio prisons already, when a drone carrying a delivery of marijuana, heroin, and other contraband dropped a package into a yard of the Mansfield Correctional Institution last week.
While the use of a drone to smuggle drugs into a prison caught many people’s attention, Joanna Saul, director of the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee, said her committe's report found 3.8 percent of state prison inmates tested positive in random tests for illegal drugs in 2014.
"It is estimated that about 70 percent of the people entering the prison system have a substance abuse addiction when they enter…So you’re dealing with this population that is very much interested in obtaining illegal substances while they’re behind bars," Saul said.
That 3.8 percent drug use rate is up from 2.7 percent in 2012, although that could be at least in part because many facilities have only recently begun testing for Saboxone, Saul said. That's now the number two most prevalent drug in Ohio prisons, according to the report.
Marijuana is the most common drug to show up positive in random inmate drug tests.
Saul said drug smuggling into prisons indicates a security breach that could be troubling for other reasons, although weapons are more likely to be made inside prisons, whereas drugs must be brought in from outside.