The Madison County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the possible exposure of two jail officers to the substance MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine), more commonly known as “Ecstasy,” while they were opening inmate mail on Feb. 16.
Chief deputy Jeff Vaughn said he was notified about 3 a.m. that two detention officers were possibly exposed to some type of substance as they opened inmate mail for inspection.
The officers reportedly began to experience numbness and tingling in their hands, followed by numbness in their cheeks and mouth area. Both were sent to Piedmont Athens Regional to be checked out. Vaughn said they were both OK and able to return to work.
Vaughn said the letters were addressed to a male and female inmate and were sent from the same person.
Cpl. Jimmy Justice field-tested the letters, which showed positive results for MDMA. The envelopes were turned over to a narcotics investigator and sent to the Georgia Crime Lab to further testing.
Vaughn said there will likely be charges as the investigation continues.
He said it is standard practice to censor and examine inmate mail and that putting a drug substance on blotter paper is one of the “old techniques” still being used to smuggle drugs to inmates.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, MDMA is an illegal drug that acts as both a stimulant and psychedelic, producing an energizing effect, as well as distortions in time and perception and enhanced enjoyment from tactile experiences.
Vaughn said when applied to the blotter paper, someone could “get high” by licking the paper or by placing it on the skin to be absorbed through the pores.