An Ohio police officer passed out and had to be treated for an emergency overdose after he merely brushed some fentanyl powder off his shirt following a drug bust. It took four doses of the opioid overdose antidote, Narcan, to revive him.
East Liverpool Police Department Patrolman Chris Green took the normal safety precautions when he searched a car and arrested two suspects on drug charges, officials stated. However, upon returning to his station, another officer advised him he had white powder on his shirt. Without thinking about it, he brushed the dust off with his bare hand, Christian Broadcasting News (CBN) reported on Thursday.
One hour later, Green passed out and medical personnel struggled to save his life. Days later, the Ohio patrol officer is still suffering the side-effects from his exposure to the dangerous drug. He is resting at home, but still experiences headaches, chest pains, and fatigue.
Green spoke with the Morning News Journal about his encounter with the substance. He said that within minutes of wiping the powder from his shirt, “I started talking weird. I slowly felt my body shutting down,” the officer explained. “I could hear them talking, but I couldn’t respond. I was in total shock. ‘No way I’m overdosing,’ I thought.”
Police chief John Lane said his officer was very lucky. “If he would have been alone, he would have been dead,” the chief said. “That’s how dangerous this stuff is. What if he went home and got it on his family members?”
Fentanyl is reported to be 50-100 times stronger than morphine. Merely touching the drug can be fatal, Breitbart Texas reported last month.
“Fentanyl can kill you,” DEA Deputy Administrator Jack Riley advised in letter a sent out to law enforcement officers in 2015. “Fentanyl is being sold as heroin in virtually every corner of our country. It’s produced clandestinely in Mexico, and (also) comes directly from China. It is 40 to 50 times stronger than street-level heroin. A very small amount ingested, or absorbed through your skin, can kill you.”
Even more dangerous, is another new drug in the cartels’ arsenal, carfentanil. This drug is a tranquilizer that is so strong, it is designed to be used in stopping a 14,000-pound elephant. It is 10,000-times the strength of morphine and 100-times stronger than fentanyl. Police in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, seized $1 million worth of carfentanil from a home after postal workers notified them about a suspicious package. The package contained 5 grams of the hyper-dangerous drug, enough to make $1 million worth synthetic heroin, filled in 50,000 stamp bags, police reported.
“It’s so dangerous that while our people are gathering evidence they have to be in full suits that you would see for the clandestine team,” said Pittsburgh PD Public Relations Officer Stephen Limani.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine confirmed to CBN that carfentanil is being laced into heroin and sold across the state. He said it is sometimes sold straight, which can lead quickly to overdoses. “We’ll see sometimes in a weekend, one community, where there’ll be five, 10, 15 people die,” DeWine told the Christian news outlet.
Because of the dangers to police, investigators are developing new testing procedures to detect the lethal drug. “Currently, police officers have to handle drugs to test them,” Ed Sisco, a research chemist at National Institute of Standards and Technology, told reporters with Science Daily “But with these technologies, they can just swab the outside of a bag to test for fentanyl.”
Officers are being warned to take extra precautions anytime they are handling unknown drugs. The warnings are also extended to K-9 handlers and evidence examiners.