Maryland corrections officials have withdrawn a controversial proposal for the first statewide ban on letters sent to inmates, an attempt to stop smuggling of a difficult-to-detect drug that has become a problem for jails and prisons nationwide, the Washington Post reports. Public Safety and Correctional Services Secretary Stephen Moyer proposed the ban last month but says he has dropped it. Lawmakers and civil liberties advocates called the ban an extreme and unconstitutional move that would have deprived inmates of contact with loved ones.
Moyer is forming a focus group to study the best ways to block mail smuggling of contraband, including Suboxone, a liquid medication used to treat heroin addiction that also can be used to get high. Maryland prison officials discovered 1,615 instances of Suboxone being smuggled via the mail last year, and said such attempts are on the rise It is part of an alarming epidemic of drug addiction that has sent the number of fatal opioid overdoses throughout the state soaring in recent years. The drug can be soaked into photos and paper that are being put in the mail, or hidden in tiny strips inside envelopes.