LMDC becomes only jail in the country with Narcan inside dorms
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - For the last couple of years, it seemed like drugs were easier to find inside Louisville’s jail than on the streets.
The number of deaths at the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections, or LMDC, were three times higher than the national average.
The jail’s new director, Jerry Collins, had his work cut out.
“When there’s an overdose, that affects a lot of people,” Collins said. “It’s not just someone died in jail, them folks have families.”
The drugs were coming in all kinds of ways.
Collins refocused their intelligence unit into a drug interdiction unit, which recently busted hundreds of dollars worth of suboxone, a narcotic, hidden in a CD labeled as legal material from an attorney to his client.
Three people, including two inmates were arrested.
“They’re trying to run a criminal enterprise through a jail,” Collins said.
The hidden strips of drugs could have killed people, making a newly installed little red box all that more important.
“It’s a piercing alarm, purposely,” LMDC Major Darrell Goodlett told WAVE News Troubleshooters as he demonstrated the use of the device.
On one side, there’s a deafening alarm. It sounds off when the overdose-fighting Narcan, contained in a clear box in the dorm, is opened.
“When an inmate accesses it, then this alarm goes off in the hallway,” Goodlette said. “That allows all the officers in the area to know we have an emergency right here.”
“It’s a blessing, honestly,” LMDC inmate Joshua O’Neal said. “It’s life-saving. I mean, it can take moments for a death to occur.”
O’Neal now helps fellow inmates through their recovery. He said the Narcan box takes a load off their shoulders.
He’s seen people overdose before.
“Very horrible,” he said. “Especially when you don’t have equipment like Narcan on you at the time.”
The Narcan boxes are going to be placed in every dorm at LMDC, something that Collins said no other jail in the country has attempted.
“It’s never been done, so why can’t we do it?” Collins said.
His goal is that at the front end, they can stop drugs from coming in, and then save lives if they do.
Collins said under his watch, every life is worth giving the job all they’ve got.
“You have to think forward, you have to keep pivoting,” Collins said.
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