Three inmates overdose on suspected heroin in booking area of Medina Couty Jail

Posted at 4:27 PM, Feb 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-06 17:16:19-05

Three inmates overdosed on suspected heroin in the booking area of the Medina County Jail Friday afternoon.

Captain Kenneth Baca from the Medina County Sheriff's Department said one of the men concealed the drug in a body cavity and then "expelled it" in a cell room while the trio was awaiting booking.

The possible heroin was shared and snorted by all three of them, Baca said.

"One of the corrections officers walked by and noticed that two of the individuals were laying down and they didn't look right," Baca explained.

Naloxone was used to revive the men and they were transported to Medina Hospital, according to jail officials.

Two of the men have since been brought back to the jail. The third man remains hospitalized.

That type of desperation doesn't surprise Gary Hubbard, the director of the Medina County Drug Task Force.

"Their mind tells them they need this regardless, and if they know they're going to jail, their mind is telling them they really need it because it's going to be harder to come by," Hubbard said.

The overdoses happened before the inmates could be searched with a body scanner.

The Medina County Jail is one of six jails in Ohio that uses the high-tech machine to search for concealed drugs.

The jail has used it for about a year. It has not found any drugs on people being booked, but in three cases, inmates handed over drugs, including heroin, before they were scanned.

In another instance, the scanner found magnets that a man had swallowed.

In light of last week's overdoses, the jail is now considering changing policy and scanning inmates before they're placed in a booking waiting area.

Hubbard said drug overdoses in the county have more than doubled over the past year. 128 cases were reported in 2015 compared with 258 cases in 2016.

Twenty fatal drug overdoses were reported throughout the county in 2015. There were 36 last year.

Mark Trew, the CEO of Alternative Paths, said his agency has treated 115 former inmates with substance abuse or mental health disorders through a grant-funded program called the Medina County Criminal Justice Behavior Linkage Program.

"Ninety-four percent of those people connected with on-going treatment," Trew said. "We follow those people into the community after their release."