OH police officer accidentally contacts fentanyl, overdoses

Wendy Jensen
May 17, 2017

Police attempted to pull over Justin Buckle, 25, who was allegedly conducting a drug deal Friday, WFMJ reported.

Patrolman Green reportedly followed protocol for handling drugs and wore gloves and a mask while patting down Buckle and searching the suspects' vehicle for evidence.

When they returned to the station, an officer noticed that Green had white powder on his shirt. Officers determined the officer got fentanyl on his skin while trying to get a suspect out of the auto.

Some of it ended up on the arresting officer's shirt, sending him to the hospital where it took three doses of Narcan to revive him, Chief Lane said. He was given four total doses of the heroin overdose medicine Narcan, and recovered. The passenger was Cortez Collins, 24, of Cleveland.

Its variant Carfentanyl is used on animals and can be 10,000 times more potent than morphine.

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Fentanyl, which has been linked to hundreds of overdosing deaths across the country recently, particularly in OH, poses an enhanced threat because simply touching the powder can put a first responder at risk, officials said.

"They called an ambulance for him and the ambulance responded for him", said Wright.

"They were able to start working on Officer Green".

In East Liverpool, officials said Patrolman Green followed protocol in his encounter with the drug and is lucky to be alive.

"For respiratory protection, I don't believe it is either practical or necessary for police to wear masks for every contact with the public", Pickett said.

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Green says he is grateful he never made it home since he could have exposed his dogs, fiancee, and family to the deadly substance. "You just throw that in the air, people inhale it, and they're going to die", he said.

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"Even in the hospital, we monitor people very closely when we give them this drug because taking too much of it can make someone stop breathing", Hoyt said. The officer had apparently encountered the opioid earlier in the day while making a drug bust.

Fentanyl is used as a substitute for opioid-dependent individuals, but it is more unsafe than heroin because it is "much more potent than heroin and results in frequent overdoses, " according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). He said that this incident was an example of how police are forced to change the way they do their jobs do to this scary drug epidemic.

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