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Heroin & fentanyl mix resulted in drug exposure concerns at Ohio prison

September 1, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Heroin & fentanyl mix resulted in drug exposure concerns at Ohio prison

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Heroin-fentanyl mix resulted in drug exposure concerns at Ohio prison

A substance that resulted in close to 30 people a prison Ohio needing treatment for drug exposure turned out to be a combination of heroin and fentanyl.

Corrections officers, nurses, and inmates at Ross Correctional Institution in Chillicothe received medical treatment on Wednesday with the anti-overdose medication naloxone after an inmate displayed signs of an overdose, and some people encountered symptoms consistent with exposure to fentanyl.

Medical personnel indicated that symptoms including nausea, sweating, and drowsiness were reported, according to 10TV.com.

Fentanyl — which is much more potent than heroin — has been tied to thousands of overdose deaths across the United States. Police officers regularly use gloves when responding to overdoses to evade exposure.

That same day, Pennsylvania state prisons were placed on lockdown after employees at ten penitentiaries required treatment from exposure to an unidentified substance, and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services briefly halted visits at its facilities after the incidents took place in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Those cases also led the Delaware Department of Correction to stop visitation and limit movement in all of its prison facilities.

In total, 28 individuals in Ohio including prison guards, nurses and one inmate were brought to a local hospital for evaluation, with 24 needing treatment.

One inmate was treated at the scene, and all but one employee and one inmate were released from the hospital, patrol spokesman Lt. Robert Sellers announced in a statement.

A prison staffer dialed 911 just before 9 am on Wednesday after employees assisting an unresponsive inmate also became consciousness.

He called again 15 minutes later to ask for as much of the opioid-overdose medication as he could get when more employees began to display symptoms.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced in a statement Wednesday that the lockdown, which proceeded into Thursday, was a “necessary step” to ensure safety and allow time to “assess and control the situation.”

Prisons officials in Maryland and Delaware said that the actions they took were for precautions.

“We understand this may be inconvenient for family, but we owe it to our staff and those in custody to prioritize safety and health,” Deputy Commissioner Alan Grinstead, of the Delaware Department of Correction, stated.

Gerard Shields, a spokesperson for Maryland’s Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said they believed it would be “better to be safe.” Visits and mail reopened on Thursday.

Sellers wouldn’t give additional details Thursday on the pending investigation into what took place at the prison in Chillicothe but indicated that the day before the substance possibly was spread into the air by a fan.

Authorities have said that 31 inmates were evacuated from the unit at the prison in Chillicothe and were assigned to other areas of the prison, while a hazmat team cleaned up the space.

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