Deputies seeing increase in overdoses inside Denver metro jails

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On one day in August 2023, the Adams County Sheriff’s Office said, at least three inmates were taken to the hospital after overdosing on fentanyl.

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. — Across the Denver metro area, sheriff’s deputies are seeing an increase in drug overdoses inside county jails. 

In a single day last year, three women were taken to the hospital after, investigators say, an inmate passed out fentanyl pills at the Adams County jail. All of the women survived. 

On that day, Aug. 22, deputies responded to an 18-year-old woman who was unresponsive in her pod. As medics gave her Narcan, the other two inmates began overdosing too.

RELATED: Adams County jail staff use Narcan on multiple inmates Tuesday

These three women were some of the 50 people who overdosed at the jail in 2023, according to the Adams County Sheriff’s Office. That is up from 44 suspected overdoses in 2022.

“Honestly our staff inside the jail are using [Narcan] as much if not more than deputies in the community,” sheriff’s office spokesperson Adam Sherman said.

A fourth inmate was arrested in the case. Investigators said she brought the pills into her pod and gave them out to other inmates. She brought the pills in a baggie that she kept in her bra, the affidavit said. 


“What we are seeing out in public in the streets, we are also seeing in our detention facility,” Sherman said. “It’s a very intense and stressful situation when you see people go down and not sure what is going on.”

Calls like these are happening more often in county jails. Deputies in Jefferson County saw at least 43 overdoses in 2023. In 2022, the jail recorded at least 28 suspected overdoses. 

In Arapahoe County, the sheriff’s office said they saw 13 overdoses in their jail in 2023. The jail recorded six the year before. 

The Adams County Sheriff’s Office said they’ve also stopped attempts to smuggle in drugs through the mail. Sometimes narcotics are infused into the ink on paper or hidden in the seams of envelopes, the sheriff’s office said. 

From July 2022: Birthday cards pose newest fight against drugs behind bars


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Deputies seeing increase in overdoses inside Denver metro jails

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