Fentanyl-exposed MPs hospitalized for overdose symptoms: sheriff

The sheriff’s office in a southwest Nevada county says five deputies were hospitalized after they accidentally came into contact with fentanyl, a powerful opioid, during an arrest, which led to the arrest of two women who were incarcerated suspected in a long-term drug investigation.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday that deputies have arrested two California residents described as a “significant channel” of fentanyl, heroin and methamphetamine in the county. During the arrests in the small community of Stateline, the sheriff’s office said five deputies had acute symptoms of exposure to fentanyl. Police across the country have reported similar incidents, although medical experts said unintentional exposures were unlikely.

The sheriff’s office said in a news release that Thursday night’s arrests were the culmination of a five-month drug trafficking investigation that focused on Regina Rojas, a 35-year-old woman from Rancho Cordova, Calif., and Jessica Thomas, a 32-year-old. year-old woman from Sacramento, California.

Paramedics respond to accident site
Paramedics provide assistance to an accident victim. According to a Nevada sheriff’s office, five deputies were hospitalized after being exposed to fentanyl.
Akacin Phonsawat/Getty Images

The local drug enforcement team, working with the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, made several undercover purchases of fentanyl, methamphetamine and heroin from Rojas and Thomas, according to the sheriff’s office. Undercover officers purchased a total of 829.1 grams of fentanyl, 1,722.8 grams of methamphetamine and 59.4 grams of heroin, the sheriff’s office said.

When sheriff’s deputies arrived to arrest the two women, five of them were exposed to fentanyl powder, a synthetic opioid developed to treat severe pain and 50 to 100 times more potent, according to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). morphine is.

The deputies had “symptoms related to acute fentanyl exposure,” according to the sheriff’s office. They were given naloxone and taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where they were treated and released early Friday morning, the sheriff’s office said.

The press release provided few details about the circumstances of the arrests and how the MPs came into contact with fentanyl. The Nevada Appeal reported that the exposure occurred around 8 p.m. at the Douglas County Lake Tahoe substation, prompting multiple local emergency response agencies to respond.

“This incident is a vivid reminder of the extreme dangers of fentanyl,” Sheriff Dan Coverley said in a statement. “The risk is not only to the public, who may not know the substance they are handling is fentanyl, but also to law enforcement agencies desperate to stem the flow of this horrible substance into our communities .”

According to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 71,238 fentanyl overdose deaths in the United States in 2021, up from 57,834 the year before. As law enforcement officials have scrambled to stop the spread of the dangerous drug, reports have surfaced of members of the public and law enforcement experiencing severe medical reactions simply by having skin-to-skin contact with fentanyl.

These reports persist, although medical groups and experts say brief accidental exposure to fentanyl is unlikely to cause an overdose.

The American College of Medical Toxicology provides a link on its website to a 2017 position statement it issued to the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology in response to reports of exposure to police and first responders, stating that a Incidental skin contact with fentanyl “is unlikely to cause opioid toxicity.”

“Fentanyl and its analogs are potent opioid receptor agonists, but the risk of clinically significant exposure of emergency responders is extremely low,” the statement said. “To date, we have seen no reports of emergency responders developing signs or symptoms consistent with opioid toxicity from incidental exposure to opioids.”

A 2020 article published in the Journal of Medical Toxicology concluded that “The consensus of the scientific community is that disease from accidental exposure is extremely unlikely, since opioids are not efficiently absorbed through the skin and likely not into the pores.” be carried in the air”.

The CDC currently recommends that first responders avoid touching their faces and wear gloves and respirators to avoid exposure to fentanyl.

But federal agencies, including the Justice Department and the DEA, have issued strong warnings about the dangers police face from accidental fentanyl exposure.

CDC removed video that ‘possibly mischaracterizes’ risks of fentanyl exposure MedPage today reported in July. The American Society for Evidence-Based Policing said in a letter on its website that unfounded beliefs among police and first responders about the danger of fentanyl exist, but can still be corrected.

“Research has shown that even a brief 10-minute presentation about the lack of risk of exposure to fentanyl at work can reduce officials’ fears and misconceptions about overdose risks,” the group said on its website. “In addition to keeping the training brief, it’s important that the message comes from law enforcement leadership or peers to add credibility.”

news week has reached out to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the American Society for Evidence-Based Policing for comment.

https://www.newsweek.com/deputies-exposed-fentanyl-hospitalized-overdose-symptoms-sheriff-1754020 Fentanyl-exposed MPs hospitalized for overdose symptoms: sheriff

Rick Schindler

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