Sheriff's Office Investigating Numerous Overdoses at County Jail

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Update by Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office
August 30, 2019

Suspected Opioid Overdoses in Santa Barbara County Jail

On August 29, 2019, numerous inmates and Custody Deputies at the Santa Barbara County Jail were treated for exposure to suspected Opioid based narcotics.  Just after 2:00 PM, Custody Deputies in the Main Jail were alerted to an inmate who had collapsed.  Deputies and jail medical staff responded to render aid to the inmate, who was housed in a general population, dormitory style housing unit containing 27 inmates.  Nursing staff recognized that the inmate was likely experiencing an opioid related overdose.  Narcan was administered to the inmate, which began to reverse the effects of the overdose. 

While Deputies and medical staff were attending to the first inmate, others in the housing unit began experiencing various levels of suspected opioid related symptoms.  Santa Barbara County EMS (Paramedic ambulances from AMR and County Fire Paramedics) were summoned to assist in evaluating, treating and transporting inmates who were experiencing symptoms of opioid use or exposure.  As the breadth of the exposure widened, Custody Staff and responding jail medical staff were instructed to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in an effort to safeguard them from exposure.  In all, thirteen inmates were evaluated and treated at local hospitals for opioid related symptoms and two were treated at the jail.  In addition to the inmates, three Custody Deputies were evaluated and treated at the hospital, and two more were treated at the jail.  All five of the Custody Deputies were treated for symptoms related to opioid exposure.  All of the deputies and inmates involved in the incident are expected to make a full recovery.

The housing unit’s remaining inmates were escorted from the dormitory, decontaminated, and monitored for several hours by Custody and jail medical staff.  Sheriff’s Office narcotics investigators initiated an investigation into the incident.  During a search of the housing unit, investigators recovered suspected heroin from within the housing unit.  How the narcotics were brought into the facility, and how the widespread exposure occurred are still under investigation.  The housing unit was cleaned and decontaminated, and the affected inmates were ultimately re-housed in the unit.  Contraband in custodial settings is a concern across the nation.  The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office Custody Operations Division remains pro-active in preventing contraband from entering the facility, and eradicating contraband that finds its way in.  


Reported by Roger the Scanner Guy
3:50 p.m., August 29, 2019

Several subjects have overdosed at the Santa Barbara County Jail less than an hour ago, Multiple Ambulances responded, there are unknown circumstances or condition of patients at this time.

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Dembones Sep 02, 2019 07:30 AM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Numerous Overdoses at County Jail

So. . . . deputies found a bunch of inmate apparently under the influence of heroin, searched their cells and found a big stash of heroin and no needle. Sounds like an inmate probably keestered a bunch of tar heroin and shared it with his cellies by smoking it. Nothing new really. It’s very common throughout the world in correctional facilities. Glad everyone is OK.

bigone Aug 31, 2019 10:21 AM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Numerous Overdoses at County Jail

Same old, same old California here. No fear of the laws, no respect of the laws. Maybe our current legislature can make a bunch of new laws forbidding these criminals from possessing or taking drugs while in jail or individuals from supplying them. Yeah, more new laws - that's the ticket. It's sure working for firearms. Sarcasm button turned off now. I really feel sorry for our LEO these days.

shorebird Aug 31, 2019 10:18 AM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Numerous Overdoses at County Jail

Food in the County Detention Center is made by honor farm inmates and is free for custody staff. Because some custody staff members were affected it is most likely that food was the source of ingestion. It is possible that none of the patients were aware of the risk of what they were eating. This looks more like sabotage as opposed to drug seeking. My advice to custody staff......pack your lunch.

a-1569193785 Aug 31, 2019 09:36 AM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Numerous Overdoses at County Jail

If someone is a criminal addict and they want to off themselves- or don’t care- why administer Narcan? This seems like a case for social Darwinism. We don’t have the time money or resources to help everyone in need- just let the herd cull itself.

a-1569193785 Aug 30, 2019 06:55 PM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Numerous Overdoses at County Jail

Remember the videos of Richard Speck (the monster who killed all those nurses)? That's when everyone sat up and took notice: prisons are rife with drugs. That story about the little girl being used to bring in heroin makes me feel despondent. What chance do kids of drug users have for a normal and happy life? Zero.

Factotum Sep 02, 2019 08:20 AM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Numerous Overdoses at County Jail

People turn their lives around all the time. Don't condemn anyone to a life of blame. Yes, even a child's abusive early years can turn around. We used to have plenty of childhood books about the plucky orphan who could and did turn things around on their own initiative and not chose a life of blaming others or their initially unfortunate circumstances. One element that is emerging is using pot before age 18 causing permanent brain damage and a 50% change of adult addictions. .Blame society's casual approval of "harmless" recreational drugs if you want to blame someone.

Carrotville Aug 30, 2019 05:19 PM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Numerous Overdoses at County Jail

I’m sick and tired of LEO’s always getting bashed with no proof. You don’t like them so they are guilty. And some one behind bars is an angel who would never do a thing wrong. You sound just like a whiney mother who would say “oh my son would never do anything like that”, as he runs laughing from the room. There are laws. You don’t like them then change them. You don’t break them. You are a bunch of lightweight crybabies. If someone is stupid enough to be a drug abuser it’s their problem. I resent one cent of my hard earned money going to dry them out. Give my money to hungry seniors or injured soldiers. Not to these self-harming people. My “compassion” got used up a long time ago and my $ will be spent where it can actually do some good. I fully support every Law Enforcement Officer. They have one of the most unappreciated jobs there is. Who will you call when you horrid people call when you need help? Better not be them!

Red Creek Aug 30, 2019 10:12 PM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Numerous Overdoses at County Jail

Amen. LEO's risk their lives every day, and many die. It is a dark world they have to work with , the "dark side" as a former military police officer described it. Yet, most of them are enthusiastic about their responsibilities to maintain a civil society, assist the public, and intervene in situations most of us would run from.

a-1569193785 Aug 30, 2019 10:59 AM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Numerous Overdoses at County Jail

@10:53 - selling fentanyl will never be "domestic terrorism," unless it is being sold for political or social purposes. Even though it's killing tens of thousands a year, it's a drug that people are buying for personal reasons, not being pushed on them for political ones.

a-1569193785 Aug 30, 2019 10:47 AM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Numerous Overdoses at County Jail

i was in and out of county jail when i was younger,,,,yup drugs are everywhere...usually a guy would have about 4 'clovos' up his rectum...meth coke H, suboxone etc...the inmates trade 'commisary' for drugs, thats how its done inside, or the person getting drugs from inmate will have someone not in jail put money on the books of the guy with drugs

Roger Aug 30, 2019 09:35 AM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Numerous Overdoses at County Jail

They used to call Santa Barbara County Jail a Country Club when I was younger because of the good grub in the day and those little things called Welfare Packs they used to give the inmates with no money...But the last time I was there and I do hope it's the last time 1999 there was none of that. Sounds like it's back to being a country club again with the exception of the jails condition and over crowding.

Phantom Blot Aug 30, 2019 09:23 AM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Numerous Overdoses at County Jail

I have it from reliable resources that, for some time now, our SB County Jail is lousy with dope. You can get anything you want in there. In days of of old, when county slammers were short term stays, smuggling was not profitable and doing 30 days was a tried and true method of kicking dope. Since that State starting mandating that counties use their own budget to store law breakers, county jails have become just like state and federal institutions, where, for a price (financial, moral, physical or otherwise...!), you can obtain all manner of mental escape. I was attending a group function at USP Lompoc (the maximum security facility) a few years ago on a Saturday, Visiting Day, and was being processed in alongside the visitors. A woman and her two children were not allowed to visit the father as the 7 year old girl kept registering as having heroin on her person. They vacuumed her clothes, checked her shoes, etc, but, given that she was a child, were not allowed to search her person (cavity searches, etc.). The consensus was that she had balloons of heroin inside her somewhere. Through the entire process she was stoic and fearless, an obvious veteran. The sorrow I felt from watching this has left a lasting impression.

a-1569193785 Aug 30, 2019 08:25 AM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Numerous Overdoses at County Jail

Do jails in other counties, or states, have the same problem? If not, what do they do that's different than what we do in S.B. County? I like Sheriff Brown, but the jail is his charge...we hired him to do that. Do current and former jail "guests" laugh about our jail?

Concerned4Calif Aug 30, 2019 08:17 AM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Numerous Overdoses at County Jail

The drugs and other contraband are brought in and sold by the custody deputies. Those deputies are members of the public service unions. Those same Unions run the local government and pick our elected officials for us. There will be no accountability for any union members.

a-1569193785 Aug 30, 2019 01:48 PM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Numerous Overdoses at County Jail

MTNDRIVER. As an elections worker for decades, I can attest to the fact that there are many voters "voting blind." People want to vote but have done no research and have no idea about the candidates or issues. These voters are easily lead, often voting a certain way because "so and so" told them to. Or . . . even worse, in my books . . . voting the way their church directed them to vote.

Factotum Aug 30, 2019 09:36 AM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Numerous Overdoses at County Jail

When you have only 30% voter turnouts these days and even less in some districts, and government is the areas biggest employer, you can be sure the unions do make up the bulk and influence the remaining voters. It is direct cash and benefits to the union members to make sure they sit on both sides of the public bargaining table. They vote consistently, and obviously they are the majority of voters when you see who finally gets elected. No excuses for those who stay away and don't vote - they get the dregs they deserve and should not be complaining due to their own inaction. If voter turnout were higher, then indeed the union interests could be out-voted.

mtndriver Aug 30, 2019 09:19 AM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Numerous Overdoses at County Jail

Whoa, take an assumption and turn it into a political position! The vast majority of voters in this county do not belong to unions. I think most people vote their consciences, though of course some just vote their pocketbooks.

REX OF SB Aug 29, 2019 10:46 PM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Numerous Overdoses at County Jail

Regardless of how this happened, you KNOW there are going to be lawsuits filed by the "victims" or their families and the county is going to pony up hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of $$$. Cha-CHING! God I love this country!

REX OF SB Aug 30, 2019 08:28 PM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Numerous Overdoses at County Jail

FACTOTUM: The very real fact is that these "victims" and their families will argue in court that the county has a duty to make sure that illicit drugs don't find their way into jail. The fact that the inmates had no business consuming those drugs in the first place is inconsequential. Because this is California, the Social Justice Warriors on the jury will make sure that these lowlifes are financially set for life. Mark my words: this WILL happen.

Ms.JBG Aug 29, 2019 09:16 PM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Numerous Overdoses at County Jail

I agree with you. It feels like SBSO isn’t doing enough to stop this or maybe there are custody deputies trying to make an extra buck smuggling stuff in for the inmates. Either way, I hope there are serious changes put in place to prevent contraband from getting in.

a-1569193785 Aug 30, 2019 11:10 AM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Numerous Overdoses at County Jail

That was a theory floating around my work. It was chowtime so we SPECULATED that it could have been put in the food. You have segregated Pods, Piranha tank, Gang tanks , wino/drunk tank, and violent /mellow tanks . So it could anything from a party to retaliation . I don't know.

dantheman Aug 30, 2019 10:53 AM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Numerous Overdoses at County Jail

i read your comment...thats so true...actually they will find out, thats a no brainer, someone will talk, i would hate to be him, he can face attempted murder c harge, and trump is trying to get fetynl deemed a chemical agent, which is great, so hopefully if you sell etc fetynll it can be charged with domestic terrorism (30000 americans die from it/year)(we lost 7000 troops in iraq/afgan war....so now you understand!!!!) china is able to murder 30000 americans year without lifting a rifle!!! its chemical warfare!!

a-1569193785 Aug 29, 2019 10:23 PM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Numerous Overdoses at County Jail

My guess is someone is really crapping in their pants right now! Whomever smuggled it in and distributed it amongst the Inmates has a ton of charges coming their way. If someone is to die from this the new charges are murder.

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