GASTON COUNTY, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - A heroin-filled needle fell out of a paper towel dispenser in the public bathroom at the Magistrate’s Court of the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday-- and FOX 46’s Robin Kanady was the one reaching for a paper towel when it happened.
“Oh my goodness. Dangerous, very dangerous, especially for kids that come in and use the bathroom,” said Brooke Turner, a mom, who was visiting the Sheriff’s Office Wednesday.
“That doesn’t surprise me,” said Chris Stuckey, who was also visiting the Sheriff’s Office.
Just this week, the Gaston County Sheriff says on three different occasions, his deputies have taken drugs off people as they’re coming into jail.
“It is a battle we fight every day to try to keep the drugs out of the jail,” said Chief Deputy Kim Johnson.
Inmates are patted down several times before they enter the jail and when they are arrested, according to officials.
But it’s a different story on the outside of the jail where Kanady found the needle. That restroom is public and open 24 hours, 7 days a week.
“In the past we have had people come in and leave drugs for inmates to get, because at one time we had inmates cleaning the restrooms,” said Johnson.
That practice of inmates cleaning the public restrooms has now stopped.
While court officials say the bathrooms are being searched regularly for drugs, they’re also trying to figure out how they can possibly limit access to the restrooms, so that people who have warrants for their arrest and are turning themselves in to the Sheriff’s Office won’t stash the drugs before they go to jail.
Also, the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office says it will be the first county jail in the state to begin using a body scanner this summer that can detect inmates hiding drugs.