Indiana jail drug exposure sends 24 to hospital


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COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. — A booking area of a northeastern Indiana jail has been decontaminated after authorities allege a Chicago woman exposed some officers to heroin.

More than 20 people who were near the contaminated area at the Whitley County Jail were sent to a hospital on Monday. Officials said no major medical issues stemming from the contamination were found.

Indiana State Police spokesman Sgt. Ron Galaviz said a man and woman from Chicago were arrested after they were caught going more than 100 mph (160 kph). He said at least one baggie of a white powdery substance found on the woman opened and contaminated the air while she was patted down at the jail.

Several firefighters along with a Fort Wayne Fire team and the Fort Wayne Allen County Regional Hazardous Materials Response team responded to the contamination call at the jail. A cleaning crew also assisted.

Galaviz said the identities of the man and woman haven’t been released pending an ongoing investigation.

The incident comes just months after a similar incident occurred at the Allen County Jail.

Dozens of jail workers became ill after being exposed to fentanyl at the jail in November. More than 30 employees were treated for symptoms including tightness in the chest, headaches and other reactions after confinement officers found the substance on a brown piece of paper outside a cell.

At least 11 employees were given Narcan, an overdose-reversing drug administered through the nose. The drug made it into the Allen County facility through the mail.

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