WEST UNION, Ohio — Inmates at the Adams County Jail had to be evacuated Friday after officials said a female inmate smuggled in fentanyl and distributed it to others behind bars. 

Several inmates and corrections officers were rushed to the hospital Friday after being exposed to the drug. They were all treated and released.  

What You Need To Know

  • A female inmate smuggled Fentanyl inside the Adams County Jail

  • The dangerous drug sickened several inmates and jail employees

  • Officials evacuated the jail and the inmates spent Friday night at the nearby fire station

  • Sickened inmates and employees were treated and released from the hospital

​“Fentanyl is the big concern now and just a little can have such a devastating effect,” said Adams County Chief Deputy Bob Rebusch.

“It only takes one person to bring something in and it affected 10 people,” he said.

Rebusch said his office worked with the Adams County Fire Marshall and paramedics after several inmates started showing signs of a fentanyl overdose. 

As a precaution, they cleared out the jail and housed the inmates at the fire department on Friday night, calling in a hazmat company from Cincinnati to thoroughly clean the jail to make sure no more dangerous residue affected inmates or employees.

Rebusch said a female inmate smuggled in the fentanyl.  Rebusch said the inmate told jail authorities she “concealed them in her body.”

She also admitted to slipping drugs to some male inmates who were housed in a nearby cell. The two male inmates became sick and were taken to the Adams County Regional Hospital, along with the two women who showed signs of an overdose. Officials began searching the cells for more drugs. Three corrections officers, a bailiff and two emergency medical technicians also fell ill and were taken to the hospital.

Ultimately, authorities decided to play it safe and clear out the jail, sending the inmates to be housed overnight at the firehouse and bringing in a hazmat crew to decontaminate the jail.

Rebusch said there was no way to know the female inmate had been smuggling in the fentanyl. 

“Jailers would have needed a body cavity search warrant and that’s nothing that’s done normally in any jail,” Rebusch said.

Despite that, Rebusch said those in charge will be investigating additional protocols to implement in the future.

"We're going to have to look at creating some better safeguards,” Rebusch said. “But, it’s a real challenge. It really is.”

Rebusch said the inmate who smuggled in the fentanyl will face additional drug charges.