Group stages protest over heroin death in jail

Group stages protest over heroin death in jail

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Deaths from heroin overdose are not uncommon in and around the Tri-State, but when they happen in jail, both corrections officials and families of addicts take notice.

A group of anti-heroin advocates staged a protest downtown to voice their concern on the issue.

Heroin addiction has reached epidemic proportions here in the region, but the craving for the lethal drug doesn't stop when the addict gets locked up so addicts will go to great lengths to get their drug behind bars.

James Barton, died last year from a heroin overdose in the Hamilton County jail and Danielle McNeal says she did a survey which indicates getting drugs behind bars isn't difficult.

"Every person on there said they have bought drugs in the jail. I don't how they're getting in, but they're in there," said McNeal

Major Charmaine McGuffey oversees the county jails and says inmates with an addiction are very resourceful.

"They attempt to swallow drugs so that they can bring them back up and use them. They attempt to conceal them in their body cavities, they try to conceal them in their clothing. They do all manner of things and we find those things, we absolutely find those things. Am I going to say that any jail in the nation is 100 percent foolproof from bringing in contraband....I don't think any jail administrator can say that in the county," said McGuffey.

The jail uses drug sniffing dogs, random searches and scanners to detect drugs, but these protesters say that's not enough.

"When inmates are being booked in to be checked better, when they go out for work detail to be checked. Also the guards. Drugs are getting into our jail somehow," said Kristy.

Major McGuffey says they're considering adopting a program similar to the one used in Warren County where Vivitrol is used to break the cycle of addiction and arrest.

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