JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. – Raynah Rey is the mother of a detainee in Jefferson County. She was surprised to learn from another inmate that her son, Cedric, was taken to an area ICU for an apparent overdose.

“If this is a facility where outside visitors are not allowed, how on earth did fentanyl get into this facility?” Rey said.

Jefferson County Sheriff Dave Marshak confirmed an inmate was being treated at an area hospital for what is believed to be an overdose related to fentanyl. He said jails across the country face challenges regarding fentanyl because a small amount can generate a high.

The department recently added a body scanner to help detect contraband. Marshak said his office takes its responsibilities for inmate health seriously and that poor health decisions by inmates create challenges.

Rey said she tried to visit her son in the ICU but was informed it would be unlawful to see him.

“I don’t understand why I would be arrested for going to check on my family member,” she said.

According to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, inmates taken to medical facilities for care are not allowed visitors or personal phone calls for safety reasons. The only exception is when medical staff determines a patient’s condition is terminal, according to a sheriff’s department spokesperson.

Rey said the sheriff’s department has failed to respond to requests for information about her son’s condition.

“My family has yet to get a phone call from the facility notifying us that our loved one is in the ICU,” she said.

A sheriff’s department spokesperson said medical information about an adult inmate cannot be shared without their consent.