Nine San Francisco sheriff’s deputies and five jail inmates were hospitalized Tuesday after being exposed to fentanyl, according to sheriff’s officials.
Around 5:30 p.m., deputies discovered an unresponsive inmate at the seventh floor jail inside the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St., sheriff’s department spokeswoman Nancy Crowley said.
The inmate didn’t have a pulse and Jail Health Services staff was able to respond and perform CPR on him, as well as administer Narcan. Although all inmates in that area were moved to another area of the jail, four other inmates reported symptoms consistent with fentanyl exposure.
The four inmates, as well as the inmate who was initially found unresponsive, were all taken to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, Crowley said.
Afterward, the sheriff’s deputy who initially responded to the unresponsive inmate reported similar symptoms. He was also taken to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.
Hours later, a total of eight other deputies were hospitalized with similar symptoms, according to Crowley.
Although the inmate who was initially found unresponsive and the deputy who initially responded became seriously ill, all nine deputies and all five inmates have been released from the hospital as of Wednesday afternoon, Crowley said.
“It was the quick action by our deputies who responded to save lives and put their own lives at risk.”
“These are the things we train for. They had to react quickly in an emergency situation and they did so very well.”
Sheriff’s investigators are now looking into how the fentanyl may have gotten into the inmates’ hands.
Crowley said the sheriff’s department regularly uses K-9s to check mail and electronic scanners to check people coming in and out of the jail to keep narcotics out of the city’s jails.
“There’s no foolproof way to keep it out.”
“This is a serious concern across the nation for law enforcement, because it’s a public health threat.”