15 inmates, five custody deputies treated in suspected opioid exposure
A substance suspected of being heroin was recovered from the jail unit where several inmates and custody deputies required medical care for exposure to opioid-based narcotics Thursday afternoon, authorities said.
In total, 15 inmates and five custody deputies were treated.
Just after 2 p.m. Thursday, an inmate who was housed in a dormitory-style housing unit at the jail fell ill. Deputies and jail medical staff responded to render aid to the inmate and recognized that the inmate was likely experiencing an opioid-related overdose. Narcan was administered to the inmate, reversing the effects of the overdose, said Lt. Erik Raney, spokesman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.
As deputies were tending to the inmate, several other inmates began experiencing opioid-related symptoms.
“As the breadth of the exposure widened, Custody Staff and responding jail medical staff were instructed to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in an effort to safeguard them for exposure,” Lt. Raney said in a news release. “In all, thirteen inmates were evaluated and treated at local hospitals for opioid related symptoms and two were treated at the jail.”
In addition, three custody deputies were treated at the hospital and two were treated at the jail. All five custody deputies were treated for symptoms related to opioid exposure, Lt. Raney said.
All of the deputies and inmates involved are expected to make a full recovery, he added.
A total of 27 inmates were housed in the unit at the time of the incident.
Those who remained in the housing unit were removed from the dormitory and decontaminated and monitored for several hours by jail staff.
Authorities are still attempting to determine how the narcotics were brought into the facility, as well as how the widespread exposure occurred, Lt Raney said.
The housing unit was cleaned and decontaminated and the affected inmates were returned to the unit.
“Contraband in custodial settings is a concern across the nation,” said Lt. Raney. “The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office Custody Operations Division remains pro-active in preventing contraband from entering the facility, and eradicating contraband that finds its way in.”