Drugs, other risks are ruled out in the prison, where dozens have fallen ill

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Testing to determine the cause of two dozen state prison inmates requiring medical attention this week for dizziness, nausea and vomiting this week ruled out “narcotics or hazardous materials,” a state prison official said Thursday. official.

The Illinois State Police Hazardous Materials Team responded Wednesday afternoon to the Graham Correctional Center in Hillsborough, 65 miles (105 kilometers) northeast of St. Louis, after officers responding to a “medical incident” became ill, according to the press secretary of the Department of Corrections, Naomi Putzel.

State police recovered two substances found at the scene, a nasal spray and a powder, Pucella said.

“The substances were identified as safe,” Pucella said, and no hospitalization or 911 calls were required to administer naloxone hydrochloride, a prescription drug that works to reverse opioid overdoses.

“But IDOC works diligently to ensure the safety of both inmates and staff, and has worked promptly to ensure that everyone has access to the care they have requested,” she said.

However, chemicals found in substances taken from prisons can irritate respiratory function and contribute to other problems.

Pacella said preliminary tests showed the nasal spray contained acetaminophen. It is a common pain reliever that can cause drowsiness and dizziness.

The powder was a common baby powder containing aluminum phosphate, which is also used in dental cements, cosmetics, paints, paper and pharmaceuticals and can cause irritation to the nose, throat and lungs.

The powder also contained ethylpyrrole, which the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration lists as a respiratory hazard.

And it contained benzene, which is harmful to the eyes, skin, respiratory tract, nervous system and lungs, according to OSHA.

Pucella, who did not respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press, did not say what amounts of the compounds were found. She did not specify how many inmates were involved, where in the prison they were or what signs they were displaying, which caught the attention of prison officials.

Testing of the clothing by state police continued Thursday, but Pucello would not say whose clothing it was.

In addition to the inmates Puzel said are in the jail’s medical unit, 22 officers were treated at four area hospitals, said Anders Lindahl, a spokesman for the correctional officers union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. 31.


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