Drugs threaten emergency responders safety

(AP File)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) -The drug epidemic sweeping our state is now threatening our police officers and first responders.

An East Liverpool, Ohio police officer is recovering after he accidentally overdosed on fentanyl and carfentanil following a traffic stop. In the midst of arresting two people, a little bit of Fentanyl or Carfentanil got on his uniform. After brushing it off, he passed out.

That officer suffered from an apparent overdose and was given Narcan –the overdose reversal drug four times.

The drug epidemic continues to get worse. Fentanyl is one hundred times stronger than heroin. Carfentanil is one thousand times stronger. Police are cracking down, but that means they are also opening themselves up for danger.

“If you touch it, it will immediately be absorbed in your blood system,” said Gregory Orick, a detective with the Narcotic and Street Crimes Division.

We caught up with detectives in Dayton as they were serving a search warrant involving drugs.
Detective Gregory Orick tells us every year they have to be more and more careful at scenes like this because most of them have the potential for disaster.

“You go there in the kitchen you can see a fine powder across the table. That’s where they are taking the product, they are cutting it with other narcotics —so say you are sitting at the table and a slight breeze comes in and lifts that off the table and you inhale it, changes are you will become extremely ill from it,” said Detective Orick.

Detective Orick says they use gloves, glasses and even masks occasionally to keep a barrier between them and the drugs.

He says they also have Narcan close by at all times, because you never know when you’ll need it.

“Officers here on the street there is a policy that they are not even allowed to test on the street because of whether you are in a cruiser or people walking around..it can become airborne,” said Orick.

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