Over two dozen people at an Ohio prison have become ill after possibly being exposed to Fentanyl, which is a powerful opioid.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol reported this incident on Wednesday. This initial announcement was followed by similar reports from prisoners in Pennsylvania.  

Ohio’s Department of Corrections responded to the episode by placing all of the state’s prisons under lockdown. Ohio’s government sent twenty-eight people from Ross Correctional Institution in Chillicothe to a nearby hospital, alongside correctional officers, nurses, and one inmate.

Police received a call from the prison at nine in the morning regarding a “substance exposure in the facility.” Both the exposed prisoners and the prison’s staff were sent to the Adena Regional Medical Center for further treatment. Reports have confirmed that no fatalities have occurred and that the public is not in danger.

Police believe that the prisoners were exposed to Fentanyl, which is an incredibly powerful synthetic opioid that can be absorbed through the skin, eyes, or mouth. Small amounts of Fentanyl can easily lead to an overdose. Narcan, medication which is used to combat Fentanyl overdoses, was given to many of the people who were exposed to the opioid. The chemical the prisoners were exposed to has been cleared and the prisoners have been relocated.

John Wetzel, the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections, stated after the lockdown:

“The safety and security of our employees is my number one concern. Our state prisons, especially those in the western part of the state, have experienced recent incidents in which employees have been sickened and we need to get to the bottom of this issue now.”

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