A rare look inside the Cook County Jail as crews search cells for drugs making their way inside through the mail system.
WGN Investigates first told you about the problem three months ago. Letters and books soaked in dangerous chemicals are being mailed to the jail, and later used by detainees to get high.
Sheriff Tom Dart says, “We’ve got our radar up on a lot of these things but it’s wildly complicated.”
At the end of last year, the Cook County Jail saw an average of about 7 overdose incidents each month. This year the average number is up to 18 monthly overdose incidents.
A team is now tasked with searching cells each week, going through books and beds to find the contraband.
According to Dr. Priscilla Ware, who oversees Cook County Correctional Health, “the pages are often soaked in roach spray, insecticides and pesticides.” It can cause a deadly high. Ware adds, “people are coming in unresponsive, with blood coming out of their mouths and noses.”
Right now, there are 11 pending autopsies that jail administrators believe may be linked to the drugs. Jails across the country are reporting a similar problem and are keeping a tight watch on any paperwork being brought inside facilities.