Why fentanyl is becoming a more prevalent danger for law enforcement

Posted at 5:36 PM, May 17, 2019

PETERSBURG, Va. -- For the second time in less than a year, a Petersburg Police officer has been exposed to fentanyl, a drug that is becoming a more prevalent danger for law enforcement.

This time the exposure occurred during the execution of a search warrant.

While inside the home, the detective's reaction to the illegal drug was almost instantaneous and his partners heard him hit the floor.

"It was scary to see one of my officers go down," Petersburg Police Capt. Emanuel Chambliss said.

Inside the Kirkham home, officers discovered cocaine and some oxy pills that had been crushed.

As one of the officers was packaging up the illegal drugs to be used as evidence, Capt. Chambliss described what happened next.

"He had on a pair of gloves that didn't fully protect and we believe the oxycodone was laced with Fentanyl and it was absorbed through the gloves into his skin, causing him to have that reaction," he explained.

The suspect, Lebaron “Mickey” Batts was arrested and charged with possession of cocaine and possession of schedule ii substance (oxycodone).

The dangers of illegal Fentanyl are well documented.

"It's 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine so the slightest little amount can make a lot of damage," said Dr. Valeria Madrid with Southside Regional Medical Center.

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

In this case, a quick-thinking officer administered Narcan to revive the officer. The detective was transported to an area hospital and is expected to recover.

So, as cases like this happen more frequently, how abundant is fentanyl?

"I've been seeing it for years," said Lisa Castro, Southside Regional Medical Center's Director of Behavioral Health.

She says it's also easier to get than some may think.

"It's very easy to get," said Castro. "You can get it shipped to you from China at any time. It's very very dangerous."



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