5 Denver Jail inmates hospitalized for possible drug overdose

Posted at 11:48 AM, Sep 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-23 20:34:09-04

DENVER — Five Denver Jail inmates were hospitalized for suspected drug overdose Thursday afternoon.

Medical personnel rushed to a pod at the Downtown Detention Center to find five men overdosing on suspected crack-cocaine. 

Denver Health treated the inmates. One has since returned to the jail. 

It’s not known how the suspected drugs made it into the jail. A drug detection K9 was later used to conduct a search of the pod but no drugs were found.

"We're looking into how this may have happened, obviously it's very disappointing," said Simon Crittle, director of communications for the Denver Sheriff Department.

Inmates are put through a magnetometer as they enter. After being booked, they are required to change into a jail uniform.

Jail officials say random cell searches are conducted regularly at both Denver jails.

The Denver Sheriff’s Department said it’s currently increasing efforts to prevent contraband from entering the facilities.

"We're bringing on three additional drug dogs, so  we will have four in total and those dogs will do sweeps of the facilities constantly," Crittle said.

The overdose comes on the heels of a 2015 review of the Denver Sheriff Department which found excessive amounts of contraband in the two jails including fruit to make alcohol, inappropriate photos and heroin.

"This is not just a problem here, it's a problem at every facility, whether it be a jail or prison, all across the country," said Crittle.

The report made a list of recommendations including frequent and documented cell searches, searching staff before they enter the jail and changing inmates' underwear from briefs to boxers so contraband is harder to hide.  Crittle said the jail has already implemented some of the recommendations but chose not to implement others.

The Independent Monitor confirms it's also investigating the latest incident.


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