Las Colinas Files: Majority of Adult Inmates in County Test Positive for Drugs

A recent study found that 63 percent of the women surveyed had marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, opiates or PCP in their system

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About three out of five adult new inmates in San Diego County jails, including Facility in Santee, who took part in a survey last year tested positive for drugs, according to a report released today by the San Diego Association of Governments.

The study -- conducted within 48 hours of the inmates' incarceration -- found that 63 percent of the women surveyed had marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, opiates or PCP in their system, along with 58 percent of men.

In a 2010 survey, it was 62 percent of women and 59 percent of men.

The results are composed of drug tests and surveys administered to 776 jail inmates, and the figures are roughly similar to previous years.

Also, 21 percent of women and 19 percent of men tested positive for multiple substances.

"Those who abuse drugs also are often involved in other criminal activities, such as shoplifting, vandalism, and driving under the influence," SANDAG Director of Criminal Justice Research Cynthia Burke said. "Therefore, it's important to target prevention and intervention services to at-risk populations to reduce the harm they do to themselves and others."

Among other findings in the SANDAG report:

-- Almost half the men and 40 percent of the women reported having used marijuana within 30 days prior to their arrest;

-- More than one-third of women and less than one-quarter of men used methamphetamine within 30 days before their arrest, with use among both steadily increasing since 2008;

-- Nine percent of women and 8 percent of men recently had used heroin;

-- Half the inmates under age 25 tested positive for marijuana and 17 percent for methamphetamine;

-- For those ages 25-39, 35 percent were positive for marijuana and the same portion had methamphetamine in their system;

-- Of inmates 40 years old and up, 28 percent had methamphetamine and 21 percent marijuana in their systems;

-- Whites and Latinos were more likely to abuse marijuana and meth, and blacks consumed marijuana and cocaine;

-- Regarding alcohol, 89 percent of men reported having been on a drinking binge at one time, with 55 percent having done so in the previous 30 days.

The SANDAG study also found that if the inmates knew their parents had previously used drugs, then they were almost twice as likely to partake themselves, when compared to those who did not know of their parents' past abuse.

-City News Service


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