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Mohave County Sheriff suspends normal jail operations, visitations after 5 opioid overdoses

April 19, 2019 GMT

Two days after five inmates received emergency treatment for suspected opioid overdoses, normal operations have been temporarily suspended at Mohave County Jail.

The inmates were found Tuesday at about 7 p.m., where they allegedly exhibited symptoms consistent with opioid overdose. Each was transported to Kingman Regional Medical Center and treated with Narcan, a drug administered specifically to counteract the symptoms of opioid overdose, and each recovered. Although those inmates were returned to Mohave County Jail, detention staff began an investigation due to information that more narcotics may be present at the facility.

According to Mohave County Sheriff Doug Schuster, it was based on that information that all normal jail operations were suspended on Thursday, including visitation and court functions. Inmates were moved from the housing unit where the suspects were found, and detention staff conducted their investigation.

“Our number-one objective in this investigation is the safety of our jail staff and inmates,” Schuster said in a Thursday news release. “We are assuming that we are dealing with a synthetic type of opioid that presents a serious health issue, as some of these new drugs are thousands of times more potent than morphine.”

Jail staff are working with county health officials and local public safety officials in their investigation.

“There is no medical emergency involving any staff or inmates,” Schuster said. “We are simply being cautious and methodical to prevent that.”