Deputies save inmates’ lives following overdoses at the Virginia Beach Correctional Center

Deputies and medical staff at the Virginia Beach Correctional Center saved the lives of two inmates after they overdosed on a suspected opioid substance on Sunday.

Deputies responded to an unconscious inmate in one of the female housing units at about 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 9, 2023. They immediately initiated CPR and, with the assistance of the jail’s medical staff, administered oxygen and Narcan. Shortly after, at about 9 a.m., a second female inmate began showing symptoms of an opioid overdose and received Narcan. Both women were transported to Sentara Princess Anne Hospital for treatment and have returned to the Virginia Beach Correctional Center.

During the course of these incidents, two deputy sheriffs were exposed to the substance. They received medical treatment at Sentara Princess Anne Hospital, have been released, and are recovering.

Following the incident, the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office thoroughly searched and disinfected the female housing units to ensure they are safe for both inmates and staff. The incident remains under investigation. The suspected opioid substance is being tested by the Virginia Department of Forensic Science.

“We will get to the bottom of how this dangerous substance ended up in our facility and hold those responsible accountable,” said Undersheriff Brian Struzzieri. “There is nothing more important than ensuring the jail is a safe place to live and work.”

The Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office five years ago deployed Narcan throughout the Correctional Center and implemented overdose training for staff. Due to the increased prevalence of opioids in the community, the VBSO will be seeking funding to purchase a fentanyl-detecting K9.

“Bringing these women back to life was nothing short of an Easter miracle,” said Struzzieri. “Without regard for their own safety, these deputies answered the call, relied on their training, and saved these women’s lives. As a result, two of them were also exposed, and I’m grateful that they’re recovering today.”

Questions or requests for additional information from the news media should be directed to Strategic Communications Consultant Kathy Hieatt at or 757-570-9123 or Public Information Officer Toni Guagenti at or 757-385-8446.