WILLITS, 4/6/21 — The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office announced earlier today that three inmates of the women’s section of the Mendocino County Jail suffered significant opioid overdoses and had to be treated with naloxone (brand name Narcan). An additional inmate reported having ingested the same substance as the others, which law enforcement tests say contained fentanyl.
The three who showed symptoms of overdose, including seizure, were treated with the overdose medication, and all four were hospitalized at Adventist Health Ukiah Medical Center, where, according to the press release, they are recovering.
Here is the press release from the MCSO:
DATE: “April 6, 2021”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Crime/Incident: Jail Inmates Overdosed on Fentanyl
Location: Mendocino County Jail
Date of Incident: April 5, 2021
Time: 7:38 P.M.
Written By: Lt. John Bednar
Synopsis: On April 5, 2021 at about 7:38 PM, Correctional staff were alerted to a female inmate having a possible seizure in one of the facility’s female housing units. Correctional staff along with jail medical staff from NaphCare, our contract medical provider, responded to the housing unit. They found a female shaking and having what appeared to be a seizure. After an initial assessment was done, medical staff determined that the female needed to go to the hospital. An ambulance was summoned to the jail. As medical staff continued tending to the seizure, an inmate alerted staff to another inmate having seizure-like symptoms.
Jail and medical staff recognized that the inmates might be displaying symptoms of an overdose. Correctional and jail medical staff began administering Naloxone (NARCAN) to the two inmates.
Emergency medical personnel arrived and began treating one of the inmates as jail medical staff treated the other. After several doses of Naloxone, the condition of the two inmates began to improve. As staff continued to tend to the initial two individuals, another female began displaying symptoms of an overdose. Emergency medical staff, jail medical and correctional staff worked together to stabilize the three affected inmates for transportation to a local hospital. A fourth inmate notified staff that she had ingested the same substance as the other three inmates.
The four inmates were transported to Adventist Health Ukiah Valley Hospital where they were treated and later returned to the custody of the jail.
The substance that was ingested by the inmates was located near one of the bedding areas. The substance was tested and was determined to contain fentanyl, a strong opioid. Fentanyl is dangerous because it can be deadly in minute quantities. County personnel with specialized training were called in to decontaminate the area in which the fentanyl was discovered.
An initial investigation into how the fentanyl came into the facility indicates that the substance was brought in by one of the inmates secreted it in a body cavity, making it extremely difficult to discover even while completing an unclothed search of an inmate. Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office personnel are conducting a criminal investigation into the drug’s introduction.
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank our Correctional staff, NaphCare staff, the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority and MedStar for assisting in saving the lives of these three individuals. We would also like to thank the Mendocino County Department of Health and Human Services for providing jail staff with the Naloxone, which was credited with saving the three inmates’ lives.