BRIDGETON — Cumberland County corrections officers and medical staff at the county jail have been credited with saving the lives of four inmates who overdosed Friday, the county’s deputy administrator said.
A 911 call was made after four inmates showed signs of cardiac arrest, Deputy Administrator Kim Wood said in a statement.
Medical staff and corrections officers administered naloxone, the opioid-overdose antidote commonly referred to by the brand name Narcan, to the four inmates, who were all transported to Inspira Medical Center, Wood said. Two of the four were treated and released, one remains in intensive care and one is in the step-down unit, officials said.
The overdoses are being investigated.
“Unfortunately, since much of this is under investigation, there’s not a lot more we can say at this time,” Wood wrote in an email reply to a request for additional information.
Warden Richard Smith credited the officers and jail medical staff for their swift actions.
Smith identified nine employees: Sgt. Zanes, Officer Carter, Officer Comley, Officer Cotto, Officer Vaughn, Officer Luciano, Officer Darisow, Officer Fernandez and Officer Shurran.
“These officers did an outstanding job in saving four lives,” he said in a press release.
“Our medical staff was trained to administer Narcan,” Smith said. “While they were working on two of the inmates, they were able to instruct the officers on how to administer the Narcan to the other two subjects. They responded very well in a crisis and are to be commended for their efforts. All four inmates were responsive when they left the Correctional Facility thanks to the great work of our staff.”
Smith, who became warden in February, has previously said contraband entering the facility has been a problem at the jail.
Over the past few months, Cumberland County jail staff participated in training initiatives that provided the knowledge they need to act during a crisis situation, officials have said. A correctional K-9 program is also being implemented to identify contraband that may be smuggled in.
The Cumberland County jail has faced several issues, including criminal charges against three corrections officers in six inmate suicides over the last three years and a civil lawsuit filed on behalf of the families of the deceased inmates, alleging “a woefully deficient system.”
Since taking over, Smith has hired additional staff and added training for officers. Along with improved programs for security, drug rehabilitation and mental health, the county is in the process of getting a new jail built, with an anticipated opening of 2020.
Staff Writer Lauren Carroll contributed to this report.