MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A new federal study has found that 68.2 percent of men booked into the Hennepin County jail tested positive for illegal drug use, which occurred prior to arrest.
The 2011 study also shows that the youngest men booked into jail had the biggest shift in drug use. Inmates ages 21 and younger had an increase in the use of Oxycodone, which officials say reflects the national epidemic of prescription drug abuse among younger generations.
The study found for the youngest inmates, 5.6 percent used Oxycodone prior to arrest. In the previous study, no one in that age group used the prescription drug.
There was a decrease in the use of cocaine and methamphetamine among the youngest men in jail, according to the study. This year’s study showed there were no inmates who used either drug prior to arrest. In 2010’s study, there were 7 percent who used cocaine and 3.5 percent who used meth.
The study also revealed that more young inmates are using a combination of drugs, instead of just one. Twice as many of those inmates tested positive for multiple illegal drugs, compared to last year.
“Taking illegal drugs in combination — is extremely dangerous behavior,” said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek in the study press release. “I’m concerned to see this increasing at an alarming rate among young inmates.”
The Hennepin County jail books arrestees from all 36 law enforcement agencies in the county. The Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program study is conducted by a research group on behalf of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.