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Fentanyl Dangers Rising For Communities, Law Enforcement

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Fentanyl Dangers Rising For Communities, Law Enforcement

Opioids, not just a danger to users, increasingly they are becoming a safety issue for law enforcement.

Putnam County Sheriff Eddie Farris said last week, a West Tennessee Deputy lost consciousness after inhaling a synthetic pain killer.

“You can be just on a simple traffic stop,” Farris said. “If there’s drugs present and the winds blowing or if you’re touching something or touching the individual and swiping your mouth or putting it on your skin or anything, on your eyes. It can be very detrimental.”

Farris said dealing with fentanyl requires constant training and input from medical professionals. Farris said when they respond in an emergency, gloves, masks and eyewear are required for deputy safety around this synthetic opioid.

Recently that West Tennessee raised concerns about how damaging this drug can be to anyone near it.

“The pill was homemade and had fentanyl in it, so not only when that person snorted the pill she got too much,” Farris said. “Then the wind everything else coming in and out is where the deputies got sick and of course there were kids and infants, I think there was one infant there. It’s detrimental and it’s whoever’s around that’s going to end up getting sick.”

Farris said that fentanyl has been an issue for a few years, but said it is now coming into the country more easily. He said the small amount needed to put into a homemade opioid or other drug is increasing the danger for this drug to become widespread.

“If you take a kilo of fentanyl, which is 2.2 pounds, it’s enough to infect and to make everyone in Tennessee sick and overdose,” Farris said. “So it doesn’t take much. It’s just micrograms of drugs and so I think people think you’re talking about a big group of powder but you’re just talking about a few granules here and there, mixed into the actual opioid itself.”

Farris said that law enforcement can properly prepare for fentanyl when they are performing drug operations on a location where it’s believed to exist. However, Farris said this drug is also raising the danger of undercover drug work.


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