Nicholasville officer sent to hospital after drug encounter
NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ)- It is a frightening reminder of the dangers of opioids. A Nicholasville police officer had to spend hours in the hospital this weekend after coming into contact with drugs so toxic even a small dose can be lethal.
Police say the officer was leaving the jail when he started throwing up and feeling light-headed. Officers say they are not releasing his name, but they want to people to know what happened.
Sergeant Scott Harvey says the officer arrested two men near the Holiday Inn Express. He had just finished booking them for possession and drug paraphernalia charges.
“He went from feeling great to feeling terrible pretty quickly,” Harvey said.
One of the suspects told police he had probably encountered Fentanyl or Carfentanyl. Both are poweful opioids.
“Equivalent size of a couple grains of salt can be lethal overdose,” Harvey said.
The officer spent six hours in the hospital on IV fluids. Sergeant Harvey says he never lost consciousness nor did he need the Narcan Nicholasville officers carry around to keep each other safe.
“You hate to say it is a risk of the job, but it is. Anything we can do to minimize that risk, we’re going to do,” Harvey said.
Concerns for police safety around these powder drugs have recently increased across the country. After an Ohio officer collapsed from brushing Fentanyl off his uniform, his city called on state lawmakers to propose laws that would better protect officers. ABC 36 asked Sergeant Harvey if his department wants similar protections.
“Right now, we’re carrying Narcan. We do what we can to not get exposed. If there’s a situation where an officer is injured due to an exposure, I think additional charges could be placed possibly with our existing law, but that’s up to the attorneys to decide,” Harvey said.
Harvey says officers talk a lot about safety around needles, but it is hard to prepare for a powder that could cause an overdose from just a few grains on your skin. The possibility of facing that is now reality for police all over.
“If they all work out this way, then we’re doing the right things. Prevention is always our number one focus, but we prevented a potential medical emergency in this situation as well,” Harvey said.
“Sergeant Harvey says the officer is doing better. In fact, he was able to go right back to work the next day.