Rochester man dies of overdose at prison halfway house

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Michael Robert Cullen

MANCHESTER, N.H. - A Rochester man housed at a New Hampshire prison halfway house was found dead on Friday of an apparent drug overdose, one of four overdoses reported at detention facilities over the weekend, according to a Tuesday press release from the state Department of Corrections.

Michael Robert Cullen, 48, was found unresponsive on the floor inside the Calumet Transitional Housing Unit in Manchester around 9:25 p.m. on Friday,

Correctional staff provided emergency first aid to the resident until the Manchester Fire Department arrived and continued until they determined that the inmate was deceased. The Chief Medical Examiner's Officer responded and is investigating the cause of death.

Meanwhile, at the New Hampshire State Prison for Men in Concord, Correctional staff discovered three unresponsive inmates in the residential areas during the course of the weekend.

Correctional staff administered the opiate antidote Narcan in two instances, and all three inmates survived the incidents. The names of these inmates will not be released due to state and federal medical privacy regulations.

Due to the seriousness and life threatening nature of these incidents, Warden Michael A. Zenk ordered inmate visitations to be canceled at the Concord facility through Thursday except for attorney visits.

"This action is being taken to protect the safety of the inmate population until the Department of Corrections Investigations Bureau can identify the type and source of the drugs used by the inmates as well as the point of entry for the drugs," Commissioner William L. Wrenn stated.

"We are very concerned about drugs inside of our facilities and appropriate steps will be taken at the conclusion of the investigation to discourage the introduction of contraband in the future," Wrenn added.

The Investigations Bureau is conducting a thorough investigation of these incidents at both facilities using all of the Department's resources including the new K-9 Team to inspect all areas of the Concord prison.

Zenk said he will make a determination on Friday on whether the visiting will be reopened.

Cullen, formerly of Buffy Street and Winter Street, Rochester; and Main Street in Farmington, pleaded guilty in December 2013 to robbing the Milton Road, Rochester Market Basket earlier in the year and was sentenced to state prison for up to five years.

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