Random testing reveals inmates' drugs of choice

The Associated Press

PHOENIX Random drug testing of inmates shows that marijuana and methamphetamines are most commonly used in county jails, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said yesterday.

Of 1,029 inmates who have been tested since January, 39 have turned up positive for drug use and 30 refused to be tested, which counts as a positive result, according to the Sheriff's Office.

''We've got a problem,'' said Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a former federal Drug Enforcement Administration official. ''If we can't stop it in a controlled environment like jail, how can we hope to stop it on the streets?''

According to urine test results, methamphetamine was found in 39 percent of inmates who tested positive, 37 percent involved marijuana, 16 percent had opiates and 8 percent involved cocaine.

The Sheriff's Office said that drugs infiltrate the jails mainly through mail, personal visits and smuggling.

Arpaio has ordered undercover agents in the county jail system to maximize their efforts against in-house drug trafficking.

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