The U.S. opioid crisis reached a dangerous new level, as the problem has started affecting even non-addicts. Officer Chris Green almost died of a fentanyl overdose during a drug arrest in Ohio. He accidentally touched the powder covering the suspect, and then realized that it was, in fact, a powerful opioid.
Accidental overdose on fentanyl
The police was searching the vehicle of Justin Buckel. Inside, they found drugs and the suspect, covered in a white powder. The powder was actually fentanyl, a drug that can be absorbed through the skin. Officer Green was unaware of this, so he touched the powder with his bare hands. After returning to the police station, Buckel started feeling sick. His colleagues called for medical help, and the man was admitted to the hospital.
Before feeling ill, Green noticed some white powder staining his shirt. Instead of cleaning it with a tissue, he brushed it off with his hand. This is when the fentanyl got absorbed through the skin, and eventually led to an accidental overdose. Such events might occur while police officers search for drugs.
“I slowly felt my body shutting down. I could hear them talking, but I couldn’t respond. I was in total shock. ‘No way I’m overdosing,’ I thought,” stated Officer Chris Green
The man received an opioid antidote and survived
Shortly after touching the powder, the man fell on the floor. The doctors who attended Buckel offered medical help to Green as well. Both patients received doses of opioid antidote narcan. To revive the officer, the paramedics had to administer 4 doses of antidote. Both Green and Buckel are now in a stable condition. The latter will be charged with felony assault for exposing an officer to suspected drugs.
Policemen should take precautions before handling poweful opioid drugs. They should wear gloves at all times to avoid getting in contact with any substances, as many can be absorbed through skin. In the case of fentanyl, even a small amount can cause be lethal. Fortunately, officer Green was lucky.
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