Deputies and medical personnel at a jail facility saved the life of a 19-year-old inmate who had stopped breathing after he and four other inmates apparently ingested the opioid Fentanyl under the mistaken belief that it was methamphetamine, authorities said Wednesday.
Editor's Note: The video above contains clips from the full video, which can be viewed below.
The incident occurred on Dec. 5 at the Inmate Reception Center in downtown Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department reported. Deputies were conducting a routine check of inmates when they found five inmates unresponsive and disoriented in a cell, according to a sheriff's department statement.
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One of the inmates was no longer breathing. Department personnel immediately began trying to resuscitate the inmate as others tended to the four others.
Video of the lifesaving effort was posted on the sheriff's department's Facebook page.
Deputies and medical staffers performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation and administered Naxolone, also known by the brand name Narcan. The substance was recently approved for use by the sheriff's department to be administered in conjunction with the ongoing lifesaving efforts.
"For more than five minutes, deputies and medical staff worked feverishly to revive the inmate, who continued to show no vital signs, while paramedics were called and responded," the statement said.
Paramedics from the Los Angeles Fire Department then arrived and began additional treatment efforts.
"They intravenously administered an additional dose of Narcan to the inmate and after several seconds the man suddenly came back to life, demonstrating full vital signs," the statement said.
The other four inmates were also undergoing medical treatment, which also included the use of Narcan.
All five inmates were taken to a hospital. Four of them were released from the hospital within 12 hours after completely recovering. The fifth inmate made a full recovery and was released from the hospital after another 24 hours of observation.
"All five inmates have since been released from custody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, with one inmate being transferred to another local law enforcement agency for an unrelated legal matter," the statement said.
The investigation is continuing. One of the inmates was later found to be in possession of the opioid Fentanyl, which "he had secreted in a body cavity," the statement said. Authorities said they believe he shared the potentially deadly drug with the four other inmates in the holding cell, apparently believing it was methamphetamine.
Sheriff Jim McDonnell recently implemented a landmark pilot program in an effort to address the growing opioid and heroin epidemic taking root in Los Angeles County by distributing Narcan nasal spray atomizers, the sheriff's department reported.