‘IT’S ALL ABOUT HARM REDUCTION’: OCDC WORKING TO COMBAT FENTANYL OVERDOSES
News 9 - May 30, 2023 6:42 am
Oklahoma County Jail
OKLAHOMA CITY –
Law enforcement is seeing an increase in fentanyl overdose deaths across the U.S. It’s a problem that has seeped its way into the Oklahoma County Detention Center.
CEO Brandi Garner said she’s addressing several issues at the jail. A couple of things at the top of her list are preventing contraband and fentanyl overdoses.
It only takes a small amount of fentanyl to take someone’s life.
“It seems to be the hottest drug on the market right now,” Garner said.
Garner said in a week, they used 13 doses of Narcan saving multiple inmates suffering a drug overdose. On May 11, several detainees alerted staff to two inmates suffering an overdose in a pod and less than a week later staff responded to two more inmates in a holding cell.
“A lot of times we come across these people when we are doing site checks. Other times, we have other detainees that are notifying us and we’re responding within minutes,” Garner said.
Garner said her staff is CPR trained and she said they’ve had to use that training a lot this past year.
“We’ve saved 130 people. We acknowledge that there is contraband coming into the jail and we are doing everything we can to interdict it,” Garner said.
She plans to stress the importance to inmates on how dangerous fentanyl and opioid abuse are.
“We have an organization that is sponsored by the department of mental health called Shred the Stigma and they are looking at harm reduction for opioid dependency,” Garner said.
Another thing she would like to do is bring in more techniques that have been used in other facilities, including bringing in more Narcan but distributing it to inmates.
“I’m also looking at a program to bring Narcan to the inmates themselves and train them on that. It’s something worth trying here to reduce the number of people that are overdosing in our jail. It’s all about harm reduction for us,” Garner said.