Drug-screening device may reduce opioid risk for police officers

Bill would provide funding
Posted at 6:58 PM, Apr 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-26 08:55:05-04

CINCINNATI –  A new bill may help ensure that no more Ohio police officers need to be revived with narcan after being exposed to deadly opioids and narcotics.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) has introduced a bill that would provide funding for local and state agencies to buy drug-screening devices.

The device - about the size of a remote control -  would allow officers to detect drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil and not require them to touch it. It’s similar to one being used by border patrol agents.

Just this week, a Columbus officer came into contact with an unknown drug after making a traffic stop. Fellow officers had to use Narcan on him. The drug turned out to be meth.

Officers aren't sure what they're dealing with, said Newtown police Chief Tom Synan, a member of the Hamilton County Heroin Coalition Task Force.

“As a police officer, if I can't see it, taste feel it or smell it, I don't want nothing to do with it," said Synan.

 “Fentanyl, as you have heard … is 50 times stronger than heroin,” Brown said.  “Carfentanil is even worse. It poses an unprecedented safety risk to officers in the field."

It’s gotten so bad that many Tri-State agencies are not field testing drugs because of the hazard.

Brown is building upon the Interdict Act, which gave customs and border protection agents the device to stop the drugs from coming into the United States.

SEE our complete coverage: "Conquering Addiction."