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2 NOPD officers exposed to fentanyl needed Narcan - Mayor Cantrell says

Cantrell said the exposure took place three weeks ago as officers were handling a bag or something similar that was covered with fentanyl.

NEW ORLEANS — Two New Orleans police officers who were exposed to fentanyl three weeks ago while responding to a call, needed Narcan to recover from the exposure, Mayor LaToya Cantrell said Wednesday morning at her weekly press briefing.

Cantrell said that the officers picked up a bag or something similar that had fentanyl all over it. A statement from the police department said the officers were exposed during testing after arresting an individual. 

"The officers received medical treatment and have since fully recovered," the police department said.

Cantrell said that the officers were given Narcan treatments.

“I’m glad that we did not lose two officers as they were out to protect and serve,” she said. “It’s given me a laser focus on where this is in our community… and how it impacts our people and clearly the people we depend on to respond to our residents.”

Cantrell said the city is educating its employees on administering Narcan should the situation arise. Cantrell said that she is also being careful herself.

“I’m making sure that my team around me is trained as well,” she said. “When I get out of my car and when I go places, I have a trash bag. I do sometimes put on gloves.”

There has been much debate about how much exposure and what type of exposure to fentanyl could cause problems.

Here are a couple of links to stories on that subject:

Secondhand exposure to fentanyl unlikely to cause harmful health effects, medical experts say

Accidental Occupational Exposure to a Large Volume of Liquid Fentanyl on a Compromised Skin Barrier with No Resultant Effect

The CDC has recommendations for first responders who may be exposed to illicit drugs, including Fentanyl.

  • Always wear nitrile gloves when illicit drugs may be present and change them properly when they become contaminated.
  • Wear respiratory protection if powdered illicit drugs are visible or suspected.
  • Avoid performing tasks or operations that may cause illicit drugs to become airborne.
  • Do not touch the eyes, nose, or mouth after touching any surface that may be contaminated, even if wearing gloves.
  • Wash hands with soap and water after working in an area that may be contaminated, even if gloves were worn. Do not use hand sanitizer or bleach.

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