- Associated Press - Thursday, October 27, 2016

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - State authorities have launched an investigation into drugs at South Dakota’s mental health hospital in Yankton.

Attorney General Marty Jackley declined to tell the Argus Leader newspaper (https://argusne.ws/2eJpcdG ) what his office is looking for, citing the ongoing investigation. However he referred to the probe as “a controlled substance investigation.”

The Yankton County Sheriff’s Office was called two weeks ago to investigate an incident in which methamphetamine was brought into the Human Services Center. Sheriff Jim Vlahakis said the incident involved a patient.

The South Dakota hospital, which is run by the Department of Social Services, provides adults with alcohol and drug chemical dependency treatment. The department’s website states the program “is designed to meet the physical, mental and social needs of each individual within a safe and therapeutic environment.” 

National Alliance on Mental Illness official Phyllis Arends said the incident might call for the hospital to take a closer look at security. She said an investigation is necessary given the fact that this is not an isolated incident.

According to an Argus Leader investigation, attacks on employees by patients have raised workers’ compensation claims and employee retention problems.

The state Department of Social Services declined to comment on the investigation.

Officials at the Human Services Center have updated the patient admission policy to better protect staff and patients.

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Information from: Argus Leader, https://www.argusleader.com

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