Alleged Drug Dealer Throws Loose Fentanyl Powder at Police
An alleged drug dealer tossed a handful of deadly fentanyl powder at officers investigating a Bronx drug packaging mill.
As originally reported by Rebecca Rosenburg in the New York Post, members of the New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force burst into an apartment with a search warrant on November 7. They found seven alleged dealers surrounded by a large quantity of heroin and fentanyl packaged into 20,000 single-dose glassine envelopes.
As the officers attempted to secure the apartment, Christian Rojas grabbed a handful of loose powder and flung it at an officer’s face.
“The officer exhibited fentanyl-related symptoms, including nausea and shortness of breath and was treated by emergency responders,” the city’s office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor said in a statement.
Another officer was sickened by the airborne powder and briefly lost consciousness. Two additional officers became ill from inhaling the dangerous substance.
Incidents like this are happening more frequently as the opioid crisis continues to spread. However, most of the risk of being affected by airborne fentanyl can be mitigated by wearing simple and relatively inexpensive personal protective equipment (PPE).
The selection of PPE varies depending on the estimated quantity of fentanyl and whether it is in loose powder form, pills, or liquid. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has established guidelines that are useful in determining the right level of PPE.
For complete NIOSH guidance on Fentanyl safety as well as a selection of kits to simplify preventing accidental exposure to opioids, click here.