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home : most recent : statewide implications February 20, 2018


2/5/2018 6:12:00 PM
Keeping drugs out of Hoosier jails is a never-ending challenge

Ron Wilkins, Journal and Courier

LAFAYETTE — Three Tippecanoe County jail officers required narcan treatments Jan. 10 after being contaminated inside the jail with a still unknown drug.

It is the first confirmation from Tippecanoe County Sheriff Barry Richard that the officers received a drug that reverses the effects of opioids, but the substance that caused the reaction has not yet been positively identified.

Asked how the officers might have come in contact with drugs in the jail, Richard said, “One of the inmates alerted a correction officer that an inmate’s behavior was unusual.”

That inmate was treated at the hospital, too, but Richard did not know if that particular inmate was the source of the drug reaction experienced by the jail officers. He explained that an inmate booked into jail about the same time might have carried residue into the jail on his clothing.

Asked if any policy or procedural changes have been implemented at the jail since the Jan. 10 incident, Richard said the only change is the suspension of person-to-person visits for trusty inmates.

Trusty inmates are reliable prisoners who receive privileges other inmates do not receive, such as more freedom of movement inside the jail. In exchange, a trusty typically performs chores around or outside the jail.  . 

Since the Jan. 10 incident, officers have searched the jail cells a couple of times, but none with drug-detecting dogs, Richard said.

“When situations like that happen," Richard said, "it has a heightened alert on our individuals, as best as possible checking for foreign substances.”

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