Drug Test Results Concern Ohio Prison Officials

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio prison officials are concerned with the relatively high percentage of inmates who tested positive for drugs last year, a newspaper reported Monday.

Annual drug testing in October by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction found 3.32 percent testing positive. Most had used marijuana, but there were also positive results for opiates, cocaine, and alcohol.

The Columbus Dispatch reported that the rate is nearly twice as high in 2011 when 1.74 percent of those tested had drugs in their system. And it’s the highest rate in more than a decade.

A total of 6,828 inmates in 28 prisons in the state system were tested, with 227 testings positive. If the positive rate was expanded to cover the entire prison population of nearly 49,783, it would mean about 1,650 inmates were on drugs at any one time.

“That is too high and absolutely unacceptable as part of the security of a prison,” said Gary C. Mohr, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. “When we see an increase, it’s taken very seriously.”