CONCORD — Five female inmates overdosed at the Delaware County prison on Christmas night and had to be revived through administering Narcan, officials confirmed.
Preliminary reports indicate that a prison visitor smuggled the narcotic into the facility during a visitation just prior to the incident occurring.
On Dec. 25 around 10 p.m., medical staff at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility responded to the female housing unit where five inmates were found unresponsive, according to officials.
At that point, Narcan was administered on all of them. Four of the five became responsive immediately; the fifth had gone into cardiac arrest and needed CPR before regaining a pulse and breathing.
All five were then transported by Emergency Medical Services to local hospitals for further treatment.
According to officials, all facility procedures were immediately deployed and the unit was placed on lockdown and searched.
A thorough investigation is repeatedly underway and the Delaware County Criminal Investigations Division was contacted and responded to the facility.
Delaware County Council Chairman John McBlain said he was updated about the incident Thursday morning and spoke with Acting Warden Donna Mellon.
He said she fully updated him on the status and that the county is aware of the event, which remains under investigation by the CID.
The GEO Group Inc., who operates the prison, issued the following statement regarding the incident:
"More than half of the individuals ordered to G.W. Hill Correctional Facility come to the facility with a substance abuse addiction. We provide rigorous treatment programs and education to help individuals overcome their addictions. More importantly, we have policies and procedures in place to ensure we keep all inmates and staff safe and secure. Not only is it completely unlawful to illegally smuggle narcotics into the facility but people who pursue these unlawful actions only hurt their friends and family members who are trying to fight addiction."
Although GEO operates the 1,883-inmate facility, Delaware County is responsible for overseeing it and that mechanism has recently changed. Previously, a five-member county Board of Prison Inspectors oversaw the prison.
Earlier this month, the Delaware County Jail Oversight Board held its initial meeting, established a meeting schedule, and appointed Donna Mellon acting superintendent. The Oversight Board consists of Mellon; county Executive Director Marianne Grace; Delaware County Common Pleas Court judges Mary Alice Brennan and John J. Whelan; Brian Corson, owner/founder of MVP Recovery; Johnathan Rahim King, re-entry specialist; Deborah Love, Crozer-Keystone administrator and former prison board member; Delaware County Controller Joanne Phillips and Delaware County Sheriff Jerry L. Sanders Jr.