Despite drug law enforcement efforts at suppressing drug supply, assessing the jail population for illicit drug ease of access may reveal how big a drug problem is in a community. The more available and easy to access illicit drugs become, the more use and abuse will be seen also. A study conducted in Vancouver, B.C., and published in The American Journal on Addictions, assessed the accessibility of substances such as heroin, crack, cocaine, crystal methamphetamine and marijuana among youth and adult users. The majority of adult drug users in the study reported immediate access to heroin (81% compared to 56% for youth), crack (90% compared to 69%) and cocaine (84% compared to 61%).1
Interviews of jail inmates completed by staff from The Recovery Center, Fairfield County ADAMH Board. The Center for State Courts provided analysis of the data as part of the Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Grant received by the Fairfield County ADAMH Board, 2013-2016.
The jail population consisted of inmates who scored ≥4 on the Simple Screening Instrument, which indicated moderate to high risk for alcohol or drug abuse. The privacy restrictions approved by the National Center for State Court’s Institutional Review Board were followed. Limited demographics were collected to ensure anonymity. The jail sample was primarily male (71%) and the age distribution was 18-24 (22%), 25-34 (40%), 35-44 (24%), 45-54 (10%), and 55 years or older (4%).