BELLINGHAM, Wash. — An unknown quantity of opioids is suspected of having been smuggled into the Whatcom County Jail and ingested by multiple offenders in a housing unit after 4 were found in various states of overdose.
Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) released a press release today, February 7th, regarding an incident today that resulted in 4 being transported by ambulance to PeaceHealth St Joseph Medical Center.
According to the release, at about 1:15pm today, “a correction deputy monitoring the control panel noticed an offender was down on the ground and not moving.” Other correction deputies were alerted and responded to the offender’s housing unit.
Upon arrival, deputies observed a male offender that was unresponsive and exhibiting symptoms consistent with a drug overdose. Deputies immediately attended to the offender, began CPR and administered a dose of Narcan, a medication used to reverse the effects of opioids such as fentanyl. 911 was called to respond with additional emergency medical response and transport.
Shortly after they began treating the first offender, two more offenders were found in the housing unit that were unconscious and not breathing. Corrections deputies immediately began CPR on these offenders and administered each a dose of Narcan. A second round of Narcan was administered at which time all three offenders regained a pulse and began to breath on their own. Bellingham Fire and EMS personnel responded and continued with advanced medical care.
While checking the rest of the unit, one additional offender was found to be exhibiting signs to include reduced level of consciousness and labored breathing. This offender was also treated with Narcan. All four offenders were transported to the PeaceHealth Medical Center for further assessment and care. Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office press release (February 7, 2023)
The release went on to say that an unknown quantity of opioids are suspected of having been smuggled into the jail. There was concern that others in the housing unit may have also ingested the opioids and are being monitored.
A subsequent search of the housing unit failed to find any contraband.
This follows a similar incident about 2 weeks ago where corrections deputies were alerted to a probable overdose according to the release. In that incident, the person in custody was revived by corrections deputies and made a full recovery.