OHIO (CBSMiami) – An Ohio police officer is recovering after an accidental overdose of fentanyl following a traffic stop that resulted in drugs being strewn throughout the car, according to authorities.
“There’s white powder on the street, on the floor, on the guy’s shoes, on the guy’s clothing,” said East Liverpool Police Captain Patrick Wright.
Wright said Officer Chris Green wiped the powder off of his clothes and started feeling poorly about an hour after the call.
“He’s an ex-MMA fighter, 220 pounds, solid muscle and it overtook him,” said Wright.
The case highlights again the dangers for first responders everywhere who deal with fentanyl and carfentanil. Those drugs can be lethal in extremely small doses as they stop your breathing and stop your heart.
First responders on the front lines in South Florida told CBS4 News about some of the ways they’re working to handle the crisis.
Dustin Rousseau, a firefighter paramedic with the Fort Lauderdale Fire Department, showed us boxes of Narcan, an opiate antidote, they carry with them on every call.
Rousseau said whether it’s fentanyl or carfentanil — a sedative used for elephants — one of the struggles is not knowing what these substances look like.
“It’s not marked, ‘This is carfentanil. Stay away from me,’” Rousseau said.
So first responders take extra precautions.
“We touch everything all the time but most often we’re wearing gloves. But sometimes, you know, you could touch your face and it could get in your skin, it’s kind of scary,” he added.
In addition to wearing gloves and goggles, everyone works as a team on a scene to look out for one another.
There have been scares in South Florida.
For instance, last fall when three Broward Sheriff’s Office K9s got sick when they were exposed to fentanyl while deputies were serving a drug search warrant. The dogs were taken to a nearby hospital where they were treated. We’re told each animal made a full recovery.
Law enforcement agencies are also stepping up their training and equipment.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office said their deputies and some other units will be carrying Narcan in the field.
The Davie Police Department is also preparing to equip their police officers with Narcan.
Finally, Coral Springs police officers have breathing masks that they wear when they encounter these types of substances.