DEA sends fentanyl warnings to police departments
GRAFTON, N.D. - They've been warning the public not to use it.
Now police are being told to watch out for it, as just touching fentanyl could kill them.
Officers are having to change their approach to the dangerous epidemic so they don't fall victim.
Cases across the country have been reported of police and emergency personnel being treated for accidental fentanyl overdoses.
And they aren't even using it.
In one case in Ohio, an officer just wiped fentanyl off his uniform and felt his body shutting down.
Now, the feds are warning departments big and small how to deal with the epidemic.
Police Chief Tony Dumas has been in the police force since he was 18 years old.
Back then, all he had to worry about was relatively routine calls.
Now, with fentanyl, an overdose call could be a matter of life or death for an officer.
Police Chief Tony Dumas said "It's what am I putting my hand on, such as someone's seat, could have fentanyl or a table or something you don't normally pay attention to, you could inadvertently be exposed to the drug."
A simple touch can kill someone. With officers having more exposure to the drug that looks like sugar - the DEA has sent out news guidelines how to properly handle fentanyl.
"Proper personal protective equipment, gloves, double gloves, personal respiration devices," says Dumas.
Chief Dumas says the warning spreads beyond the walls of the cop shop.
The public needs to know too.
"Kids could pick a bag of this stuff up, not know what it is, and be exposed," said Dumas
Due to the dangers, all officers will soon be equipped with Narcan, which can be used to treat overdose victims immediately.
It is a countering agent of an opioid.
Chief Dumas wants his force to have it in case they come in contact with the deadly drug fentanyl.