Local News

Eight inmates hospitalized after suspected drug use in Harnett County

Posted January 17, 2016
Updated January 18, 2016

— Eight inmates from Harnett Correctional Institution were taken to local hospitals Saturday. Authorities suspect the inmates were using a form of synthetic marijuana known as K2.

Keith Acree, a spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, said that inmates began getting sick Friday afternoon and several were found unresponsive in their dormitories. By Saturday night, eight inmates had been sent to area hospitals.

Only one remained hospitalized by Monday.

Acree said that another inmate, who used K2, was evaluated by prison medical staff and did not need to go to a hospital.

Authorities do not believe other drugs were involved.

Acree said that investigators have not yet determined how the K2 was able to enter the prison. He described the drug as a "leafy substance" and explained that it would have been difficult to conceal it in the mail, which is heavily screened.

"Contraband can come into prisons through a variety of matters – through visitors, from compromised staff members, and it can be thrown, flown, or launched over the fence," said Acree.

Acree said that contraband is a challenge at all prison facilities, but he noted that there have been no other incidents like this at the Harnett Correctional in recent years.

The Lillington Police Department is investigating, and an internal investigation has been launched as well. Acree said no charges had been filed Sunday night.


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  • Janet Ghumri Jan 20, 2016
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    So, if they hadn't gotten sick, there'd be no chatter about drugs in the jail? Eight inmates, someone has quite a distribution network going on. I wonder what else is available inside?

  • Mark Fogel Jan 18, 2016
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    and yes i am a convicted felon.

  • Mark Fogel Jan 18, 2016
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    i wonder how many of you that post such negativity for this article are christians. i dont think you are reading the same book i am. the only way the inmates got the stuff is from staff: correctional officers, nurses, doctors, and support staff. how do i know this, well i used to work for the NCDOC.

  • James Grimes Jr. Jan 18, 2016
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    Am I supposed to weep for them? They have a reason to be at the HCCI.

  • ecp1951 Jan 18, 2016

    no sympathy here. just more of a cost burden on us taxpayers for their treatment.

  • bigwilliejohnson4phun Jan 17, 2016

    Sonja th einmates pay the guards. Prisoners and members of law enforcement come form the same socio-economic backgrounds, and have the same intellectual thought processes. This happens all the time, except usually the inmates do not get sick from the drugs.

  • Sonja Yagel Jan 17, 2016
    user avatar

    How does the inmates get their hands on dope inside a prison? Is there no security?