MINNEAPOLIS -- A new study suggests more young people that are being booked into the Hennepin County jail are using painkillers.
"They'll crave it, they'll having itching sensations," said Marty Hamlin, the nurse manager at the jail. "It's astounding to me how many people we see come in here who've used prescription drugs."
The study, which is conducted by the Associates for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, looks at 10 sites nationwide and the Hennepin County jail is one of them. The research suggests 70 percent of all arrestees are under the influence of narcotics, but that's not the most concerning element.
"We see an increase of Oxycodone and heroin use in men under the age of 21," said Sheriff Rich Stanek. "We hear the same from treatment facilities."
According to the research, over 5 percent are being booked with traces of strong painkillers in their system. However, there are virtually no traces of young people using Meth and cocaine.
"One has replaced the other," says Sheriff Stanek. "It's our job to let folks know what these trends are."
The staff of nurses, who work around the clock at the jail, treat symptoms of drug withdrawal everyday, meaning the issue of inmates addicted to narcotics isn't only a health issue but a financial burden to the county.
"Our medical budget is several hundred thousands of dollars," said Sheriff Stanek. "It goes to treat the effects or after effects of heroin and Oxycodone abuse."
The information obtained from the study will not only assist in how to keep inmates safe, but also provide drug counselors and officers an insight into what substances are on the streets.
"The jail books about 40 thousand people each year," says Sheriff Stanek. "It's important to for us to know what kind of population is walking in here."
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