BUTLER (KDKA) – Officials with the Butler County Prison are trying to find ways to stop contraband from getting inside the jail.
Four corrections officers and two nurses were sickened by some kind of substance around 6 p.m. Tuesday. The employees were treated for symptoms including dizziness, shortness of breath, dilated pupils and burning in the throat and mouth.
“It’s unknown at this time. There’s a lot of facilities across the state of Pa. dealing with K2 synthetic marijuana, but we’re not completely sure what it is at this point,” said Butler County Prison Warden Joe DeMore.
DeMore isn’t quite sure how the substance got into the jail cell the officers were in, but he does speculate how the inmates got their hands on it.
“A lot of stuff is being mailed in. What they do is liquefy the substance, spray on mail and when it comes in, it is really undetectable. So, we’re trying to figure out some ways to combat that,” said DeMore.
This comes just one day after four prison guards in Greene County were taken to the hospital when they were exposed to an unknown substance. The warden says similar incidents happened at the Mercer State Correctional Institute and the Fayette County Prison last week.
In January, the deputy warden at the Allegheny County Jail said eight corrections officers were sickened after searching cells on the E-pod.
DeMore said he’s looking at ways to prevent this from happening in the future. He said this is the first time this has happened since he’s been warden, and he wants it to be the last.
“We’re going to have our officers wear masks so they don’t contract it through the air if that’s how it was passed,” DeMore said. “The next step we’re going to sit down with the whole administrative team, put our heads together, come up with some plans. Some other jails dealing with this photocopy the mail and don’t give them the original copies anymore. We may look at doing something like that too.”