Suboxone Smuggled into Prison in New and Innovative Ways

    Prison officials throughout the country are finding that Suboxone, a drug used to treat opioid addiction, is being smuggled in through ingenious means, including crushing the pills into a paste and spreading it over children’s artwork or under stamps. Smugglers are also taking advantage of the formulation of the drug that comes in thin strips, which can be hidden behind stamps and envelope seams.

    The New York Times reports that Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone), which is used to treat heroin and prescription painkillers such as oxycodone, is also being used to provide a high.

    At Cumberland County Jail in Portland, ME, officials rip stamps off mail before delivering it to inmates because they found senders were using a paste of crushed Suboxone pills on the back of stamps. The jail also requires that mail to inmates must come in white envelopes so officials can see the orange coloring of the drug strips when they hold the mail up to the light.

    The article notes that in Massachusetts, Suboxone makes up 12 percent of all the contraband found in state prisons. New Mexico prison officials find attempts to smuggle the drug to inmates about once every week.

    A Vermont Department of Corrections official said corrections officers there have found Suboxone pills sewed into seams of clothing and stuffed into drawstrings of sweatpants, and crushed pills in shoes and magazine spines. A Maine corrections official noted that some people douse letters in perfume to try to fool drug-sniffing dogs.

    By Partnership Staff
    May 2011


    May 2011

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