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Evaluation of law enforcement officers' potential occupational exposure to illicit drugs
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    "In May 2018, a county sheriff's department requested a health hazard evaluation (HHE) concerning unintentional exposure to illicit drugs among law enforcement officers. Two officers developed adverse health effects during a traffic stop and law enforcement action. We met with the officers directly involved with the incident and representatives of the sheriff's department command staff. We reviewed sheriff's department policies and procedures, incident reports, forensic laboratory testing results, and medical records. We found that two officers and a K-9 unit responded to a traffic stop where drug paraphernalia was found. Both officers were exposed to a "plume of white powder" from a locked metal box. After this exposure, both officers experienced difficulty breathing, dizziness, and confusion, which prevented them from continuing to perform their law enforcement duties. Naloxone was administered to one of the officers at the scene. Both officers had multiple potential routes of exposure to illicit drugs. They both wore long-sleeve uniforms, neither wore respirators, and one officer wore leather gloves and the other officer wore both latex and Kevlar gloves while searching the vehicle. The sheriff's department conducted a review of the incident and is making the following improvements: (1) developing personal protective equipment requirements when handling opioids and unknown substances, (2) updating existing policies and procedures for bloodborne pathogens and naloxone use, (3) improving intranasal naloxone access and training, and (4) improving access to personal protective equipment. In addition, we recommended following guidance available from NIOSH and other public health agencies, encouraging officers to report possible exposures to and health effects resulting from exposure to illicit drugs to their supervisors, and continuing to coordinate joint training and development of uniform standard operating procedures with other nearby local law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and EMS organizations that work together." - NIOSHTIC-2

    NIOSHTIC no. 20053771

    Recommended citation: NIOSH [2018]. Evaluation of law enforcement officers’ occupational exposure to illicit drugs. By Jackson D, Chiu S, Hornsby-Myers J. 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 2018-0118-3331,

    https://www .cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/reports/pdfs/2018-0118-3331.pdf.

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