Police officer overdoses after drug bust in fentanyl-covered car
An Ohio police officer nearly suffered a fatal fentanyl overdose after accidentally touching the drug while responding to a substance-related call, officials said.
East Liverpool Police Officer Chris Green responded to a traffic stop where 25-year-old driver Justin Buckel had allegedly performed a drug deal just before 9 p.m. on Friday, Police Chief John Lane told InsideEdition.com.
When Buckel and passenger Cortez Collins, 24, realized they were being stopped by the police, they allegedly tried to get rid of material officials believe was fentanyl.
"They [the suspects] rubbed it into the carpet, ripped bags open, got in on their clothes, their shoes," Lane said. "There was white powder everywhere."
After arresting the men, Green and other officers carefully followed station protocol for handing drugs by wearing gloves and masks as they investigated the car for evidence, authorities said.
When they returned to the station, an officer noticed that Green had white powder on his shirt.
"They're sitting there talking, decompressing... and someone said to him, 'You got something on your shirt.' He brushed it off and they went back to talking," Lane told InsideEdition.com.
Green's condition quickly deteriorated and he lost consciousness while suffering an apparent overdose caused by the white powder on his shirt.
"He said, 'I don't feel good,' and passed out," Lane told InsideEdition.com.
Green was given Narcan, rushed to the hospital then given three more doses of Narcan.
His condition has improved, but he is still recovering as of Monday.
"I know he's been having headaches; his chest is hurting, he said it feels like someone kicked him in the chest," Lane told InsideEdition.com.
Though Green nearly died from the experience, it could have been much worse.
"Think about this," he said. "Nobody sees that on his shirt. He leaves and goes home, takes off that shirt, throws it in the wash. His mom, his wife, his girlfriend goes in the laundry, touches the shirt — boom. They drop. He goes home to his kid. 'Daddy! Daddy!' They hug him — Boom. They drop. His dog sniffs his shirt, it kills his dog. This could never end."
The incident is a reminder of the dangerous that police officers often face while dealing with the drug epidemic that has left communities crippled.
"What are we supposed to do with this? You can't have an officer doing that [search] by himself. He can go home and die. It's just the smallest amount that can kill, like a granule of sugar — or if it gets airborne, it can kill more than one person," Lane told InsideEdition.com.