Suboxone Drug of Choice in Maine’s Jails

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The contraband seized most often by the Maine Department of Corrections is a drug used to treat opiate addiction, reports WGME in Portland. A public records found that heroin, marijuana, methadone, oxycodone and tobacco have all been intercepted by state corrections officers, but the number one item inmates try to smuggle is Suboxone Sublingual strips, which are used for opiate addiction. The small, thin strips can be hidden in body parts, and in the mail, sometimes even liquefied and dropped onto letters. “We’ve banned cards from coming in,” said Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce. “We take photocopies of greeting cards.” Joyce said strips have been found in between sheets of cardboard and in the folds of envelopes. Contraband prompted the jail to ban contact visits, leaving inmates to see loved ones from behind glass.

Rusty Swift said he’s been addicted to drugs since he was 14, and drugs have gotten him in trouble more than once. “I’ve had my contraband issues in this jail,” said Swift, who was in the Cumberland County Jail for a probation violation. Louise Cook said she can tell contraband is smuggled in among the women, too. “Everybody has a little tell,” said Cook. Sheriff Joyce said that, “Most of our population have drug addiction issues and we’re fighting that every day. There are people that are willing to go out and basically take orders for drugs and then find ways to get it in.” Inmates said the Suboxone isn’t used to beat addiction, but to get high. “Everyone wants to feel better, you know,” said Swift. “This is not fun.”

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