Ohio bill would change way jails deal with drug, alcohol withdrawal

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February 07 2021 06:00 pm

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio lawmakers proposed legislation that could change the way Ohio jails place inmates who are at risk of withdrawal from alcohol and drugs.

In 2008, singer Sean Levert, son of R&B hitmaker Eddie Levert of the O’Jays, died inside the Cuyahoga County jail.

It was found that he died from complications after being denied a prescription of Xanax.

State Sen. Nickie Antonio and members of Levert’s family met at the statehouse. Lawmakers are working to make sure that never happens again.

The bill is named after Sean and requires that state jails have protocols in place when they admit inmates who are at risk of withdrawal from drug addiction, alcohol, and certain prescriptions.

Alex Lape, deputy chief ​for the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office, said the bill is needed.

“It’s a necessary thing to make sure that there is widespread compliance throughout the state of Ohio,” Lape said. “We’ve been in compliance for several years.”

Lape said the jail already has strict rules in place but sees this bill as a great thing.

Before an intoxicated person even reaches the jail, they are questioned.

“We have another process of questioning that we ask them. What, if any, drugs have they been using that we need to be aware of? Do they appear to be under the influence?” said Lape.

Lape adds there’s always room for improvement no matter what policies a jail may have in place.

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