MILPITAS, Calif. (KRON) — Thirteen inmates overdosed on fentanyl at Elmwood Correctional Facility, and three staff members were impacted after being exposed to the drug while treating the inmates, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.
The first incident was reported on March 8 when two inmates were found to have serious medical emergencies. Sheriff’s deputies and jail medical staff administered Narcan to both inmates before they were taken to a local hospital for further treatment. The sheriff’s office says that both inmates were considered stable when they were taken from the facility, and they have now returned back to the jail.
One of the deputies who responded to the initial call was affected in the incident, and he started showing signs of fentanyl exposure. The deputy was taken to a local hospital and is now doing well, according to the sheriff’s office.
Two similar medical emergencies occurred the next day on March 9. The first incident that day began when a deputy reported an inmate acting erratically. The deputy requested Narcan, and it was provided to the inmate before he was taken to a local hospital to be assessed.
At the same time, deputies were informed of another inmate who was reportedly unresponsive and not breathing. After several doses of Narcan, the use of a defibrillator and CPR, the inmate began to breathe and regained consciousness. He was taken to a local hospital to be treated. After this incident, two Adult Custody Health nurses were also taken to local hospitals when they began experiencing symptoms of fentanyl exposure.
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Nine similar incidents have taken place at Elmwood Correctional since these overdoses were reported. All inmates required several doses of Narcan before being treated at the hospital. All of those involved are expected to make full recoveries, according to the sheriff’s office.
The sheriff’s office was able to confirm that all of the overdoses were the result of fentanyl because of blood tests run at the hospital during treatment. The sheriff’s office released a statement on their actions:
“The Sheriff’s Office along with the Elmwood Facility Administration have taken extraordinary measures to ensure that inmates and staff are safe. From the onset of the first incident, Correctional Staff began conducting multiple facility searches and more frequent welfare checks of inmates in affected areas. The Sheriff’s Office is also utilizing its K9 Unit in partnership with a DEA Task Force K9 and a Probation Department K9 to conduct numerous, systematic searches at the Elmwood Correctional Complex. Deputies have located additional illegal drugs during
some of their searches.
The Sheriff’s Jail Investigation’s Unit is investigating all of these incidents to determine how the illegal substances made it into the jail and to recommend criminal charges for those involved. The Sheriff’s Office is also conducting safety and educational messages to those housed within the jail facilities, including via Housing Unit Message Screens and messages on Inmate Tablets.” — Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office