As if the law enforcement profession weren’t dangerous enough, the latest threat to an officer’s safety isn’t from a gun but from a drug.
Over the summer, the Drug Enforcement Administration issued warnings to first responders not to touch or field-test drugs they suspect may contain fentanyl, a drug more toxic than heroin or morphine. A very small amount ingested or absorbed through the skin can kill you. The abuse of fentanyl, a prescription opiate, has reached epidemic levels in many regions of the country.
Public safety agencies across the United States have stepped up their safety procedures in response, issuing officers gloves, masks and other protective gear. The concern has spread north of the border too, where just this week Canada’s Winnipeg Police Service started fitting its frontline officers with respirator masks to keep them safe from exposure to the deadly drug.