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Drug use at 22-year high last year for men in San Diego County jails, report says

Illicit drug use among men held in San Diego County jails hit a 22-year high last year, with 83 percent of arrested men surveyed testing positive for at least one drug, according to a report released this week .

60% of women surveyed in jail tested positive for at least one drug in 2021, the lowest rate since 2008, according to the report by the San Diego Association of Governments, also known as SANDAG.

The district agency conducted interviews and drug tests with 225 men at Central Jail, the county jail for men in downtown San Diego, and 80 women at the Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility in Santee, a county jail for women.

SANDAG has been conducting these types of interviews since 2000 through its substance abuse monitoring program. The program, the agency says, helps identify drug use trends among adult and juvenile offender populations to help develop drug use prevention strategies.

According to the report, methamphetamine is still the most common illicit drug used by adult arrestees. Among those who participated last year, 58 percent of men tested positive for meth — up from 57 percent the year before. Among women, 44 percent tested positive, up from 53 percent in 2020.

When asked by researchers how easy it was to get methamphetamine, 62 percent last year said it was “very easy,” compared to 52 percent in 2017.

Marijuana was also found to be widely used by those arrested – nearly 90 percent of those surveyed said they had tried it. And although marijuana can be obtained through legal dispensaries, 62 percent of adults surveyed said they had obtained the drug illegally on the street.

The report also found that most arrestees who tested positive for THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, also tested positive for another drug.

The percentage of women testing positive for drugs fell in 2021 for the second consecutive year, according to the report. In 2020, about 67 percent of the arrested women surveyed tested positive for at least one drug. In 2021 it was 60 percent.

The researchers noted that the COVID-19 pandemic played an important role in the data collection because fewer people went to prison during the pandemic. The sample size was smaller than previous years — 305 in 2021 compared to 487 in 2017.

“Retention policies were modified due to the pandemic, which affected how people were detained and who was available for interview,” Cynthia Burke, SANDAG’s senior director of data science, said in a statement. “However, the majority tested positive for at least one substance, indicating the extent of the needs of the justice-involved population.”

About 41 percent of adults surveyed said they had been diagnosed with a mental health problem. According to the report, 22% had attempted suicide and 45% had been admitted to a mental health facility while under the influence of drugs.

About 65 percent of respondents reported experiencing homelessness.

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Drug use at 22-year high last year for men in San Diego County jails, report says Source link Drug use at 22-year high last year for men in San Diego County jails, report says

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