A prison in Ohio has been in lockdown after nearly 30 people were treated for a suspected drug overdose. Ross Correctional Institution first recorded the incident when an inmate presented showing signs of an overdose at 9:10 a.m. on August 29.
According to Fox News, “28 people — including 23 correctional officers, four nurses and one other inmate” were potentially exposed to a substance that required the drug, Narcan, to reverse the effects. As yet, a statement has not been made on how such a high proportion of staff was affected.
In an early statement released by the Ross Correctional Institution, “several doses of Narcan were administered to the victims.”
As a result of the initial outbreak, an additional 300 Narcan doses were provided for use at the facility.
Ross Correctional released an updated media statement detailing the event and assuring locals that the incident had been contained. Previously, the Union-Scioto schools located close by were put into a cautionary lockdown.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol and local emergency medical services were called upon after the initial man was treated and taken to hospital as a cautionary measure. The substance was then located and collected.
Multiple inmates and employees at an Ohio state prison received an overdose-reversal drug after being exposed to an unknown substance. https://t.co/pkBTt6adTA
— ABC News (@ABC) August 29, 2018
“Samples of the substance have been collected so it can be tested and identified,” officials said, according to Fox News.
The exact name of the substance has not yet been released but WCMH-TV reported that it was fentanyl. Another outlet, 10 TV, suggests that the substance was released via the air, possibly via a fan on site, as per the statement by Ohio State Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Robert Sellers.
As 10 TV points out, fentanyl is considered several times more powerful than heroin. As a result of this, officers who are dealing with — or suspect they are dealing with — this substance, use gloves in order to avoid their own contamination with it.
The substance was found in one cell block, containing 31 inmates. However, only two inmates succumbed to the substance, the majority affected being correctional officers and nurses on that block. A hazardous material team was called in to decontaminate the area.
According to WCMH-TV, “19 people from the RCI incident were taken to Adena Regional Medical Center” for treatment.
However, as per the official prison statement, “all RCI staff are stable and some have already been discharged from the hospital.”
“The situation is stabilized with no additional reports of exposure,” the statement from Ross Correctional Institution reads. “The situation remains under investigation by the Patrol at this time.”