Evaluation of a New Hampshire law enforcement officer's unintentional occupational exposure to illicit drugs
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Evaluation of a New Hampshire law enforcement officer's unintentional occupational exposure to illicit drugs

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    "The Health Hazard Evaluation Program received a request from a police chief concerning an unintentional exposure to illicit drugs experienced by a law enforcement officer (LEO) during a traffic stop and law enforcement action. We reviewed (1) work activities during the traffic stop to characterize potential exposure to illicit drugs; (2) information concerning health effects related to the incident; and (3) changes made by the police department in response to the incident. We found that as part of a vehicle search, a LEO opened a container and was exposed to a powder that was suspected to be heroin and fentanyl at the time of the incident. The forensic laboratory found fentanyl and methamphetamine in the powder. A LEO experienced symptoms after the exposure, which included feeling disoriented, lightheaded, and had "blurry vision" within several minutes of the exposure. However, the LEO did not have signs consistent with serious (life-threatening) opioid toxicity. Before going into the emergency department, the LEO was decontaminated by rinsing with water and changing clothes. The police department identified areas for improvement after the incident including recognizing cross-contamination is possible, following current recommendations for first responders, periodic review of the department's search procedures to minimize potential exposure, and improved access to personal protective equipment. We recommended the police department continue to revise work practices and procedures they identified as areas for improvement, and to the extent possible, continue joint training and development of uniform standard operating procedures with other nearby local law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and EMS organizations." - NIOSHTIC-2

    Recommended Citation: NIOSH [2018]. Evaluation of a New Hampshire law enforcement officer’s unintentional occupational exposure to illicit drugs. By Chiu S, Hornsby-Myers J, Trout D. Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Health Hazard Evaluation Report 2018-0132-3322, https://www .cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/reports/pdfs/2018-0132-3322.pdf.

    NIOSHTIC no. 20052354

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