Pretty much everyone in law enforcement who is in direct contact with a crime scene, such as lab technicians or paramedics, are in big danger of being exposed to potentially deadly drugs. One of these drugs is fentanyl is especially potent and people working on these jobs.
It seems that because of fentanyl and other potent opioids, police departments are now requiring the officers to use protective gloves and masks as well as having the overdose reversal drug naloxone administered in need.
Protection seems to be the top priority and for a good reason. Fentanyl is a very strong pain medication that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Actually, some of the drugs analogues which were created to mimic the effects of the original could be up to 10,000 times more potent than morphine.
The dangers lie also in the fact that this drug can be absorbed through the skin, open cuts and also inhalation, where even tiny amounts can prove to be fatal.
The Cincinnati K9 officers have also been trained and equipped with giving their dogs naloxone since the canine units are more likely to come into a direct contact with this drug. Also, officers are now required to carry two sets of gloves and also protective masks.
According to the Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco, employees that work in crime labs need to be and are extremely vigilant when having to handle any type of drug. Everyone needs to put their masks on and suits on. There are no exceptions.
All of this extra precautions are not just some random idea but is the result of a last year’s exposure by two agents that needed to be treated with naloxone.
One of the agents in the southeast Ohio’s East Liverpool got the drug in his system after simply brushing of a small amount of fentanyl from his shirt. In this particular case, the officer was actually wearing gloves and mask while doing a car search while attempting a drug arrest.
It is pretty obvious that these types of substances are not something to take lightly, which is why these police stations and all the connected employees are going through all of the mentioned additional steps in securing themselves and the lives of their colleagues and K9’s.