DEA warns police of risk in drug fight: accidental overdose

DEA warns police of risk in drug fight: accidental overdose

Acting Drug Enforcement Administration administrator Chuck Rosenberg speaks about fentanyl at DEA headquarters Tuesday. There is a horrifying surge in drug overdoses.

The opiod crisis is no longer just impacting those who are using the drugs, but now there is a potential for accidental overdoses for first responders. "So we are very concerned", says Detective Nicole Monroe with the Baltimore Police Department.

Rosenstein said drug deaths in the US experienced the largest increase in recorded history in 2016, claiming more than 60,000 lives. That officer had to be revived with four doses of naloxone, a drug that blocks the effects of opioids and that officers use to try to treat an overdose.

Rosenberg, a former USA attorney who was appointed to his current job during the Obama administration, said he routinely charged the "most serious readily provable offense", as Sessions had directed, during his days as a prosecutor.

Fentanyl's potency-particularly the strength of non-prescription versions of the drug created illegally and sold as either counterfeit pain pills or heroin-sets it apart from opioid treatments like OxyContin, other prescription painkillers, and even heroin itself. Although DEA does not keep data quantifying the problem, first responders handling evidence or helping overdose victims are more frequently reporting breathing problems, dizziness and even loss of consciousness, acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg said. A police officer involved in an OH roadside heroin bust May 12 overdosed after he got some powder on his uniform, despite using gloves and a mask while searching the suspect's auto.

Federal agents are warning police and first responders around the country, including in Maryland, about the dangers of fentanyl. "Inhaling just a few airborne particles could be fatal".

Now it is anxious about the substance's effect on a different group - the police officers and firefighters who might touch or inhale it incidentally while on the job. "Our officers and first responders must approach these situations with the utmost caution".

Since 2013, law enforcement authorities have been tracking alarming increases in fentanyl-related seizures. "Don't touch these substances or their wrappings without the proper personal protective equipment".

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