Last Wednesday, inmates and prison staff at the Ohio Ross Correctional Institution were hurried to a nearby hospital after exposure to an unknown substance. In total, 29 people were transported to the hospital for monitoring. 

It all started when officers noticed signs of an opioid overdose in an inmate. The inmate was given Narcan and rushed to the hospital, then at least 28 other people had to be rushed to the hospital after exposure to an unknown substance.

Kirk Tucker, the hospital’s chief clinical director, said that the incident was due to exposure to Fentanyl, an opioid 100 times stronger than morphine. Experts say that medics and officers who interacted with the patients may be exposed to the substance as well. All other patients not related to the incident were taken to a different area of the hospital. Inmates near the contaminated cellblock were moved to different cells throughout the prison.

Chris Mabe, president of the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association, told the Chillicothe Gazette, “The way fentanyl is transmitted sometimes through touch, sometimes through airborne,” he said. “So that’s what we’re trying to find out now – how much substance we’re dealing with and how it was transmitted inside the institution.”

Two nearby schools were put on on precautionary lockdown until they were signaled for clearance and dismissal.

The incident is still under investigation.