Shocking CCTV footage shows the moment a gloved police officer collapsed after touching evidence thought to have been laced with fentanyl.
The officer, from the Bartlesville Police Department in Oklahoma, began to lose consciousness after packing away methamphetamine found during a traffic stop last weekend.
It’s thought the drugs were laced with fentanyl, a powerful opioid more than 50 times more potent than morphine. Although the officer – who has not been named – was wearing gloves, it is believed he came into contact with the drug and it caused him to collapse.
CCTV footage from the scene shows the officer packing away evidence, before turning to lean on the table for support. He started to double over, and eventually fell to his knees. His colleagues quickly came to his aid and administered Narcan, a medication used to block the effects of opioids and help prevent overdose.
The officer can later be seen being taken away on a stretcher.
Narcan saved him
Sergeant Jim Warring of the Bartlesville Police Department spoke to KTUL News about the situation:
He had become ill, light-headed, basically passed out and fell over.
I don’t know what would have happened had they not acted so quickly.
Warring said the incident marked the first time officers have had to use Narcan on one of their own. It is thought the quick administration of the medication saved the officer’s life.
The sergeant went on to use the ordeal as an example of the dangers officers face every day when dealing with evidence.
We’re really fortunate that we had [Narcan] available and that our officers really paid attention to the training.
Even though the officer may not be physically dealing with an individual, all the evidence and things that we handle on a day-to-day basis can harm you too.
Fentanyl’s overdose risk is high
Fentanyl is typically used as a pain medication and can be mixed with other drugs to work as an anesthetic. It is also used as a recreational drug and is usually mixed with heroine or cocaine, giving off a heroin-like effect.
The drug’s strength means the risk of overdose is extremely high.
Police said there was another unnamed officer who could also have been exposed to fentanyl. Both officers were sent to hospital for treatment, and they are now said to be fine following the ordeal.