State Warns Inmates About Dangers of Drugs
Three recent "unexplained deaths" at a women's prison in Chowchilla have led the Department of Corrections to send a letter to the state's inmates warning them of the dangers of using legal and illegal drugs, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports. This month, three young inmates with no "ongoing health problems" died "sudden[ly]" at the Central California Women's Facility, according to department spokesperson Margot Bach. The letter, which was first sent to inmates at the Chowchilla facility and was to be delivered to all of the state's 160,000 inmates by tomorrow, warns inmates "to avoid unprescribed medicines, combining medication, trading prescriptions with other inmates, or hoarding medication to take later." Written by Susann Steinberg, the department's deputy director for health care services, the letter adds, "The illegal drugs (such as heroin, marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, etc.) that may be coming into the prison may be contaminated with toxic and poisonous materials. In the past, we have identified drugs contaminated with substances that range from potent insecticides to poisons, like strychnine. Inhaling, ingesting or injecting these substances may lead to agonizing and rapid death." Bach said, "We're not saying this happened at Chowchilla, but it's a probability people at Chowchilla were doing it." Toxicology reports on the deceased women won't be available until next week at the earliest (Thompson, AP/Contra Costa Times, 12/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.