Police conduct drug testing on Victoria’s roads and on Victoria’s waterways, while organisations such as Integrity Sampling conduct drug testing in Victoria’s workplaces, so it shouldn’t surprise that tests are also carried out in the state’s prisons… And the results aren’t anything to crow about.
An article in the Geelong Advertiser on Sunday highlights the extent of the issue of drugs in Victoria’s prisons, particularly in Barwon Prison, located in Lara, a short distance from Geelong. Inmates at Barwon Prison have the dubious honour of returning more positive drug testing results per capita than inmates at any other Victorian prison.
While it probably isn’t going to shock you that drugs do get into prisons, what may surprise you is the extent of the issue. At Barwon Prison, according to the Geelong Advertiser article, more than one in 10 random drug tests (11.16% to be exact) are returning positive results. This makes the prison the worst performing of all 17 locations listed in a report on drugs in Victorian prisons.
The article quotes a spokesperson from the Department of Justice and Community Safety, who says that prisoners can go to significant lengths to smuggle drugs, as well as other contraband, into prisons.
“Our staff conduct tens of thousands of searches every year in order to detect contraband and prevent it from coming in,” the spokesperson said in the article. “We also employ drug detection dogs, random and targeted drug urine testing of prisoners, intelligence operations and the latest technology.”
The drug of choice in Barwon Prison, it seems, is a prescription opiate called buprenorphine, which the Geelong Advertiser article states is widely used as a heroin replacement (heroin is also an opiate). The drug caused a positive in 203 drug testing results. The next highest was methadone with only six.
It’s not just licit and illicit drugs that are causing issues and are being seized when found. Homemade alcohol is also being discovered regularly, with around 125 litres of the stuff seized at Barwon Prison in the nine months to March this year.
1 out of 10 is bad!
One in 10 prisoners returning positive drug testing results sounds bad, and it is, but it’s all too close to the rate experienced by police in Victoria and indeed across Australia during random drug testing on our roads. In fact, across Australia over the past few years, the rate of people returning positive results during random roadside drug testing would be very close to 10.
Scary statistics indeed, but what should really scare those people who do take drugs and then drive is the potential consequences. While a fine and loss of licence is common, if they have an accident while driving under the influence of drugs and another person is seriously injured or killed, their next home is likely to be prison.
NOTE: We should add that comparing urine drug testing results (the method stated in the article as used by Barwon Prison) with saliva drug testing (the method used by the police) is not exactly fair. That’s because urine drug testing shows a history of drug use, while saliva drug testing shows recent drug use.
Failing drug testing on Victoria’s roads may ‘only’ end up with your paying a fine and losing your licence for a while, but then again it could also result in you being locked up, where drugs also appear to be readily available. Credit Jobs For Felons Hub https://www.flickr.com/photos/144110575@N07/27680527941/