Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County Jail has no policy for determining which inmates get their prescription medications shortly after arriving and which inmates must wait up to two weeks before they get their drugs, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Inmate Sean Levert died March 30, six days after entering the jail. He surrendered 37 Xanax pills but was never given a new prescription. A coroner’s report determined Xanax withdrawal contributed to his death.
Cuyahoga County’s practice is in sharp contrast to the largest county jail system in the state. At the Franklin County jail, which includes Columbus, inmates who arrive with prescription psychiatric medications, for instance, must surrender them but are given a replacement bottle by the jail pharmacy right away. Jails should make their own evaluations of prescription medicines, said Robert Greifinger, former chief medical officer for the New York Department of Corrections, but precautions should be taken with inmates who are not immediately given their medicine.