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Inmate dies of drug overdose at Macomb County Jail

Macomb County Jail

Another inmate has died at the Macomb County jail, this time of an apparent drug overdose.

Nicholas DiFranco, 28, died Wednesday, according to Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham’s office.

DiFranco and his cellmate reportedly crushed and snorted pills they got from another inmate. When DiFranco started overdosing late Wednesday afternoon, his cellmate alerted jail staff, who administered two doses of NarCan. But DiFranco later died at the hospital.

Wickersham said in a statement that the county’s drug epidemic “does not cease at the walls of the Macomb County Jail.”

“On a daily basis, 60-65% of our inmate population receives some type of medication, 30-60 inmates are on a detoxification protocol, and 35-50% of our inmate population have a history of drug use,” Wickersham said. “A large percentage of the inmates continue to seek out narcotics under any means necessary while incarcerated.

“My staff and I are constantly reviewing and updating policies and increasing technology in the fight to eliminate contraband entering into our facility," he said.

Wickersham said the jail will continue investigating exactly what substance the inmates took, and how it got into the jail in the first place.

In 2016, the jail installed a full-body scanner for all inmates to try and tamp down on contraband, including drugs.

DiFranco was being held on embezzlement and possession of narcotic paraphanelia charges. He is the 20th person to die in the jail since 2012. That includes at least two other deaths from drug overdoses.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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