Study: 1 in 5 Hennepin County Jail inmates have history of opioid abuse or use

A study completed at the Hennepin County Jail revealed 20 percent of inmates reported having a history of opioid use or abuse.

The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office worked with Hennepin Healthcare to run a One-Day Snapshot Study. Jail medical staff surveyed all the inmates at the jail on December 6, 2017. The inmates filled out questionnaires, which staff cross-checked with medical records and jail information. The study complied with HIPAA Privacy rules.

Of the total 851 inmates, 173 inmates, or 20 percent, self-reported opioid use or abuse. Of those who reported a history of opioid use, 64 percent had experienced an overdose. Nearly all who had overdosed had received naloxone, also known as Narcan. Despite 20 percent of the inmates self-reporting opioid use, only two percent said they had received inpatient addiction treatment.

“The One-Day Snapshot Study of jail inmate opioid use is a tremendous example of the partnership between Hennepin Healthcare and the Sheriff’s Office,” said Hennepin County Commissioner Jan Callison at the Tuesday press conference. “The study gives us a first-hand look not only at opioid use and how it intersects with the criminal justice system, but it also provides a stark vision of how deadly opioid use can be, how common it is for opioid users to overdose, and how important it is for the county to do what it can to raise awareness of naloxone and help ensure access to it.”

The full report can be viewed here.