Five inmates overdose, spur Sheriff's effort to change laws

Posted at 2:23 PM, Jul 15, 2016

Five female inmates overdosed around 11:30 Thursday night, on what officials believe to be heroin. 

All five women were revived in the jail with the life-saving drug Narcan by Mansfield Fire EMS. All five women were transported to Ohio Health for treatment. 

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According to officials, the women ingested the drugs in the bathroom of a housing unit. They are believed to have used tampon inserts to snort the heroin. A subsequent search of the housing unit found a black latex glove with an unknown substance on it and a contraband cell phone. Both were submitted as evidence. 

Four of the five women cooperated with authorities and issued statements. All five were released from the emergency room and sent back to the jail. 

Searches for contraband were ongoing, utilizing a Sheriffs' drug-sniffing K9, Friday morning. Deputies conducting the investigation are collecting evidence to support possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia charges. No charges have been filed and officials still have not identified the inmate who smuggled the drugs into the jail. 

In response to the inmate overdoses and opioid epidemic in Ohio, the sheriff's office said that it will begin contacting Ohio legislatures to change laws to allow corrections officers to conduct strip searches on inmates who enter general population. A change in Ohio law would match Federal law, which allows strip searches of inmates.

In addition to lobbying lawmakers, the sheriff's office is also working towards purchasing a body scanner, that costs approximately $250,000, which would detect objects in the cavities of inmates. Once an object was detected, the sheriff's office plans on preparing a search warrant to have a medical examiner remove the object. 

Captain Chris Blunk is working on finding funding for the purchase of the scanner. He has tried to solicit funds from other departments, like courts and probation, to contribute to the purchase.