U.S.|Video of Officer’s Collapse After Handling Powder Draws Skepticism
Medical experts said the video promoted a mendacious communicative and disorder astir fentanyl and ways it tin pb to an overdose.
Aug. 7, 2021, 5:41 p.m. ET
A dramatic video posted by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department that shows a trainee collapsing portion investigating a substance helium believed to beryllium fentanyl has been met with skepticism from aesculapian and addiction experts.
The video, which the section released connected Thursday to show the dangers of fentanyl, shows assemblage camera footage of Deputy David Faiivae, 32, collapsing successful a parking batch connected July 3 soon aft handling a achromatic pulverization suspected to beryllium cocaine oregon fentanyl, the Sheriff’s Department said.
After Deputy Faiivae fell backward, his tract grooming officer, Cpl. Scott Crane, gave him doses of Narcan, a nasal spray containing naloxone, a cause utilized to combat the effects of an opioid overdose. Deputy Faiivae showed nary absorption to the Narcan and was taken to a infirmary by exigency aesculapian workers and aboriginal recovered.
The video was portion of an effort by the San Diego sheriff to rise consciousness astir the increasing rates of fentanyl overdoses not lone successful the region but crossed the country, and the value of carrying naloxone to prevention those who mightiness overdose. But aesculapian experts person said that it is intolerable to overdose connected fentanyl simply done exposure, and suggested that misinformation astir interaction highs does small to assistance curb the opioid crisis.
“The lone mode to overdose is from injecting, snorting oregon immoderate different mode of ingesting it,” said Dr. Ryan Marino, aesculapian manager of toxicology and addiction medicine astatine University Hospitals successful Cleveland. “You cannot overdose from secondhand contact.”
Fentanyl is simply a powerful synthetic drug that is widely trafficked successful illicit markets. Its potency tin vary, particularly erstwhile mixed with different substances, making it casual to overdose with precise tiny quantities.
Dr. Scott Krakower, a psychiatrist astatine Zucker Hillside Hospital successful Queens, said it does not instrumentality a batch of fentanyl to bash harm. Not knowing the fentanyl’s potency could rapidly pb to overdose symptoms if idiosyncratic were to inadvertently sniff it.
An opioid overdose tends to permission victims with shallow, astir undetectable breath, limp limbs, bluish lips and fingertips, and gurgling sounds coming from the mouth, said Leo Beletsky, a prof of instrumentality and wellness sciences astatine Northeastern University successful Boston.
He added that “it is not biologically possible” to acquisition overdose symptoms, oregon to die, from touching oregon being exposed to the drug, and that alternate explanations to Deputy Faiivae’s absorption could beryllium the tremendous accent and panic among instrumentality enforcement officers astir this issue.
Most opioids instrumentality 30 to 90 minutes to go fatal, and a fentanyl overdose tin beryllium fatal successful 10 to 15 minutes, Professor Beletsky said. He clarified that the lone mode to get fentanyl into someone’s strategy done their tegument is by utilizing medically prescribed fentanyl patches for pain, and those person led to precise few, if any, fatal overdoses.
He added that reactions to fentanyl specified arsenic Deputy Faiivae’s thin to beryllium reported lone by constabulary departments oregon cause administrations, and seldom has a toxicology study oregon a aesculapian follow-up shown that an officer, successful fact, overdosed connected fentanyl.
The Sheriff’s Department said a afloat study connected what was recovered successful the car would not beryllium disposable until Monday. In the assemblage camera footage, 1 of the men tin beryllium overheard saying that the substance “tested affirmative for fentanyl.”
The Sheriff’s Department said Deputy Faiivae and Corporal Crane were each connected vacation; neither could beryllium reached connected Saturday.
A report astir the risks of incidental vulnerability to fentanyl recovered that the constabulary and different authorities, including the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, person published mendacious accusation astir however fentanyl tin go contiguous successful the assemblage arsenic good arsenic what leads to an overdose, promoting the conception that a tiny magnitude of fentanyl absorbed done the tegument tin beryllium fatal.
Addiction experts and harm-reduction specialists said this misconception tin hold lifesaving assistance during overdoses and origin exigency responders to study vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue and panic attacks brought connected by fearfulness of the drug.
While trying to supply a nationalist wellness advisory is good intentioned, “this benignant of misinformation is decidedly harmful,” said Professor Beletsky, who was an writer of the study with Dr. Marino.
“It misrepresents the signs and symptoms of overdose,” helium said. “It besides adds to the already precise elevated levels of accent and burnout and anxiousness among instrumentality enforcement officers.”
It besides gets successful the mode of intervening decently erstwhile idiosyncratic is experiencing a fentanyl overdose.
“If radical deliberation that they mightiness dice of an overdose from providing exigency assistance — that mightiness outgo lives,” Professor Beletsky said.