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PITTSBURGH – Authorities say guards were searching for an illicit substance being smuggled into a western Pennsylvania jail when more than a dozen were sickened by some kind of airborne material over the past two days.

Allegheny County jail officials say they learned earlier this week that an illicit substance soaked into paper and dried was being provided to inmates who then smoked or inhaled it by burning the paper.

Warden Orlando Harper says that during searches of cells that began Wednesday, a number of guards reported symptoms such as vomiting and dizziness, and 15 staff members were taken to hospitals for evaluation following three incidents. No inmates reported symptoms.

Officials said a screening of food vendor personnel found three people with suspected drug material or other contraband. One was charged.

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