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Prison officers to wear masks during search

August 16, 2018 News Extra

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After a cell search on Tuesday sent four correctional officers and two nurses to the hospital, special masks have been purchase to be worn by correctional officers when they perform searches.

The staff members at the Butler County Prison who were sickened by an unknown substance on Tuesday are back at work, but report that they remain sluggish, tired and dehydrated.

A cell search on Tuesday sent four correctional officers and two nurses to the Butler Memorial Hospital emergency room after they began feeling dizzy and ill.

Warden Joe DeMore said on Thursday that he has ordered special masks to be worn by correctional officers when they perform searches.

The cost for the new masks are included in the budget, DeMore said.

DeMore suspects synthetic marijuana, also known as K2 or spice, was the culprit in the event, which caused a “mass casualty” alert at the hospital.

He confirmed that while prison officials are eagerly awaiting results from the tests on the substance, many times synthetic marijuana does not show up on tests.

Cases of substance poisoning have occurred at the state correctional institutions in Mercer, Allegheny, Greene and Fayette counties in addition to many others, DeMore said.

Read the full story in the Butler Eagle.

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