LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Five Louisville Metro Corrections inmates were sent to the hospital early Friday morning due to suspected overdoses.
"They all required Narcan," said Steve Durham, assistant director of the jail. "Some of them had lost consciousness. Some of them were not showing heartbeat. Some of them were turning blue."
There is no word on what possible substance may have caused the overdoses or how any drugs may have gotten in, but corrections officials said it is a common problem at all jails.
"Drugs get into jails," Durham said. "They get in a variety of ways."
According to an incident report obtained by WDRB News, officers were called to a women's dorm just after 5 a.m. and found three women unresponsive and blue in the face. EMS was called as corrections officers began chest compressions. One inmate took two rounds of Narcan before she regained consciousness. A second inmate took eight rounds of Narcan to come around.
Metro Corrections Director Dwayne Clark said of the five female inmates that were treated for a suspected overdose, three have returned to the jail. Two others are expected to return later Friday. It appears none will require additional medical attention.
A corrections spokesman said five other inmates were monitored for signs of an overdose, but their vitals were normal.
Louisville Corrections FOP Lodge #77 President Daniel Johnson said the number of people who overdosed was much higher. He said a total of 20 inmates overdosed. He said the people who overdosed had no heartbeat and weren't breathing and if it weren't for the officers taking quick action, utilizing CPR and a defibrillator, some would not be alive.
"We are in the middle of COVID," Johnson said. "You don't know what people have. They're jumping in there and doing CPR with no masks or anything. It was nothing short of heroic, and if it wasn't for their actions and the nursing staff, it would be a different headline."
A Special Operations Response Team was called in, and corrections officers searched dorms and conducted a "shakedown" of inmates. Louisville Metro Police also had a K-9 at the jail.
Clark updated earlier reports that clinics were being canceled at the jail for things like chemotherapy and dialysis. He said no dialysis appointments were scheduled, and a chemotherapy clinic will occur as planned.
Overcrowding at the jail and a lack of staffing has been a growing crisis. Johnson said at the same time officers were responding to the overdoses, there were technical problems with equipment and plumbing issues on another floor.
"We had two main elevators that were down," he said. "We had the control room panels in the hall of justice that were down. We had plumbing issues that were going on, and we couldn't get to those because we were dealing with a medical emergency and we are using an inordinate amount of overtime."
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