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Study: $15M spent to thwart prison drug smuggling in California has mixed results

Calif. prison drug overdoses 3 times national rate
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Posted at 10:59 AM, May 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-10 13:59:00-04

A study has found mixed results from the $15 million California spent to thwart prison drug smuggling by increasingly creative inmates.

Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, and the Public Policy Institute of California say smugglers use tricks like concealing methamphetamine in a bar of soap or heroin on the backs of postage stamps.

An intensified state effort starting in 2014 led to nearly a 25 percent reduction in illegal drug use in three prisons with the most extensive enforcement. It included airport-style scanners, drug-sniffing dogs and surveillance cameras. 

But researchers reported no decline in prison violence, which often starts over drugs. 

California inmates die of drug overdoses at three times the nationwide rate.

Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to say Thursday if he wants to continue the program.