Five inmates and eight deputies from a San Francisco County jail were taken to the hospital after exposure to a narcotic — possibly fentanyl, authorities said.
The San Francisco Fire Department responded Tuesday evening to a call from sheriff’s deputies who found an unresponsive inmate at County Jail #4 at the Hall of Justice. The inmate, along with four others who showed symptoms, were given Narcan and transported to a local hospital, the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.
Opioid overdose-reversing drug, sold under the brand name Narcan, can quickly restore normal breathing in someone suspected of overdosing on opioids, including heroin and prescription pain medications.
Eight deputies who administered CPR on scene were also exposed to the narcotic and taken to local hospitals. Four of them have been released and are recovering. The inmates are conscious and under observation, authorities said.
The fire department has cleared the affected area but it still needs to be decontaminated, authorities said.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, originally developed as a powerful anesthetic for surgery. It is also used as a painkiller for terminal illnesses such as cancer. The drug is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine and a small dose can be deadly. Illicitly produced fentanyl has been a driving factor in the number of overdose deaths in recent years.