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5 Inmates Overdose From Fentanyl, Heroine In Putnam Jail

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
5 Inmates Overdose From Fentanyl, Heroine In Putnam Jail

Five female inmates overdosed in the Putnam County Jail after illegal drugs were smuggled into the facility.

Sheriff Eddie Farris said fentanyl and heroine were involved in the incident. Farris said the presence of fentanyl has led to a much higher rate of overdosing compared to the other drugs that have been smuggled into jails for decades.

“Twenty years ago, people sneak drugs into jail, we might recognize that,” Farris said. “We might give them more jail time. We might add additional charge. We might tell the probation or parole once they got out. We might notify the judge. But now it’s a life-threatening event. And so it’s really – it’s really become a problem across our nation.”

Farris said the drugs were brought into the facility via an inmate’s body cavity. He said all five women were taken to the emergency room and have since returned to the jail.

“One of the ladies, this is the second or third time she’s actually overdosed inside our facility, so she’s a continual nuisance in that effect,” Farris said. “And obviously we’re going to try to address that legally and get her more time, and then probably send her to the penitentiary, state penitentiary.”

Farris said the best policy changes that could be made to address the problem would be new federal policies making it harder to get fentanyl in the first place.

“It doesn’t matter what kind of drug you buy today on the black market and in the street, illegal drugs,” Farris said. “It all has a certain amount of fentanyl in it.”

Farris said sheriffs and penitentiaries across America are also seeing more drug-related deaths inside their facilities because of fentanyl.

“We haven’t got there yet,” Farris said. “I hope we can avoid that, but it’s something that’s a real problem.”

Farris said deputies in the county carry Narcan for fentanyl-realted emergencies within the jail or for one another, but not for use in the community.

Farris said the number of overdoses in Putnam County and across the country has dramatically increased since Narcan was introduced to the public.

“A group of drug addicts will get Narcan and they’ll designate one person, such as the way it used to be for designated drivers, now they designate one person to be the Narcan,” Farris said. “So everybody else is doing the drugs, the fentanyl, and then they’ll put their life in their hands to bring them back.”


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