HILLSBORO, Ill. – FOX 2 is looking into what happened inside Graham Correctional Center in Hillsboro, Illinois. Several calls went out Wednesday about a potential mass overdose.  

The Illinois State Police continued their investigation Thursday into what happened and what foreign substance sent several employees to the hospital.  

A spokesperson from the Illinois Department of Corrections, said that a staff member at the corrections facility was responding to a medical situation in which detainees seemed to be affected by an unknown substance. Some staff members reported feeling dizzy while responding to the incident.

“One person collapsed. And then multiple people supposedly had breathing issues,” said Scot Ward, president of Fraternal Order of Police Illinois Corrections Lodge 263. “Burning of the eyes, you usually get sensation around your lips or your nostrils. Things like that cause you to say, ‘Wow, something is going on here.’”  

The Illinois Department of Corrections said 22 correctional officers and three inmates received medical attention on Wednesday. According to ISP, the substances were identified as acetaminophen and paracetamol in nasal spray and aluminum phosphate, ethylpyrrole, and benzene in baby powder. ISP said the test came back negative for life-threatening substances. However, they said they are going to continue to test it.

“We really don’t know what it was that caused that, and I surely can’t see,” Ward said. “I know the five people I spoke to, and I know they would not have just played the game and act like they fell off just to get a few days off, so to speak. Something had to have happened because there is just too many with the same symptoms.” 

He said he hopes this incident changes policies inside the prison. 

“Every day you start planning, and you start reminding people that this is what we need to look for,” Ward said. “It’s not just tingling of the lips and things of that nature. Being lightheaded. We have to look out for this and this and this.” 


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