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Saturday

 

Jail policy on medication disposal criticized









































A northwestern Indiana jail is under fire for the way it handles inmates' prescription drugs.

Porter County routinely disposes of prescription medications taken from inmates because Sheriff Dave Lain says the county has no way to verify that the medication is what it's purported to be.

But defense attorneys scoff at the notion and say throwing away legitimate prescriptions can cause problems for inmates whose insurers won't cover the costs to replace those recently filled.

Defense attorney Mitch Peters noted that police can look online to determine whether a pill is really what it's advertised as being.

"It's pretext, because clearly they have the ability to make that determination," Peters told The Times in Munster (http://bit.ly/1xdvaGA ).

Jail officials say many medications prescribed outside jail, such as the anti-anxiety drug Xanax, aren't given to inmates. Lain said a nurse is on duty around the clock to tend to inmates' medical needs.

The situation is different in Lake County, where prescription medicines are screened, then stored with the inmates' other belongings.

Dr. William Forgey, medical director for the Crown Point lockup, said nearly all prescription drugs are seized in the jail's booking room, labeled and put into storage along with the inmate's other personal property. Once inmates are released from custody, the prescription drugs are returned to them.

Exceptions are made for a small number of high-end prescription drugs.

"Expensive drugs, like to treat HIV or multiple sclerosis, are identified to make sure they have been properly prescribed and then we allow the inmates to take them," Forgey said. "We allow them in because some of these drugs can cost up to $1,000 a month."

Peters said jails need to take a broader approach in order to stabilize mental and emotional disturbances among inmates.

A lawsuit filed against Lain and former Warden John Widup accuses them of failing to provide adequate and reasonable care for an inmate who hanged himself at the jail in February 2012. The lawsuit claims the sheriff and warden denied the inmate his antidepressants.

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by VIDAENELVALLE
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length


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