Wednesday, October 20, 2021 10:25 pm

[SUNDAY FEATURE] Rise in inmate suicides, attempts, at Pima County jail tied to opioid epidemic

The Pima County jail plans to increase monitoring for all inmates, with special attention to those in the mental-health, above, and detox units. /Mamta Popat /Arizona Daily Star

 

By Caitlin Schmidt | Arizona Daily Star

As the opioid epidemic continues to grip the nation, the Pima County jail is working to stem the tide of suicides and suicide attempts among detoxing inmates.

A new report assessing suicide risk at the jail, issued in response to two highly publicized inmate suicides this year, found that the detention center has a relatively higher rate of suicides than other jails, and that completed and attempted suicides for this year are on track to exceed 2017.

The report, ordered by Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry, showed a high correlation between inmates withdrawing from opiates or alcohol and increased risk for suicide.

Most inmates who attempted suicide at the jail did so within three to four days of their booking — a critical window that might warrant more intense medical monitoring, the report said.

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