A police officer from the East Liverpool Police Department in Ohio is recovering from a recent accidental overdose of the drug fentanyl. Chris Green searched the car of a suspected drug dealer when a colleague pointed out the white powder on his uniform. Without thinking about it, Officer Green quickly brushed it off. An hour later, Green overdosed from an accidental touch of fentanyl.
Fentanyl is an opioid pain medication that is quick acting and potent. Stronger than morphine, fentanyl is being illegally used across the US and around the world and has caused many thousands of deaths. The opioid epidemic has hit states across the US and into Canada where it was called a public health crisis. Just recently, a man from Calgary, Canada died thinking he was taking heroin instead of heroin laced with significant amounts of fentanyl.
In Ohio, Green is recovering, thanks to the Narcan administered to him at the police station. Speaking to NBC News, Chief John Lane said that Green was still experiencing symptoms of the overdose and was “still miserable.” It took officers four shots of Narcan to revive Green from the overdose. Narcan or naloxone is a type of medication used to revive someone suffering from the effects of an opioid overdose. It can be injected into the thigh muscle or sprayed into the nose. Because of the opioid epidemic, more and more pharmacies now carry Narcan.
While conducting the search of the suspect’s car, Green wore gloves and a mask to complete the search, equipment that is now required. The Washington Post reported that the DEA advised police stations across the country that fentanyl “could not only kill drug users but officers exposed to small amounts.” Justin Buckle and Cortez Collins, the suspects, upon realizing they were blocked in by the police tried to destroy the evidence by grinding the drug into the floor of the car. Both were charged with “tampering with evidence.” They were taken to the local jail and bond was set at $100,000 each.
In the past few months, Ohio has been one of the states hardest hit by the opioid epidemic. Last year, the East Liverpool police post a photo of people who overdosed in their car while their child sat in the backseat. Green speaking to the Washington Post said that he was in “total shock,” and did not believe that he was overdosing from touching such a small amount of fentanyl.
By Cheryl Werber
Photo Courtesy East Liverpool Ohio Police