Investigator feared drug exposure
Hillsboro police officer John Huebert thought he might have been exposed to fentanyl Saturday while testing a substance seized from a Hillsboro home and went to an ambulance station to be monitored.
Hillsboro Police Chief Jessey Hiebert said all turned out well, and Huebert had no ill effects, despite his having felt “funny” after he field tested powdered substance at the police station.
“He went and hung out and he felt better,” Hiebert said. “It wasn’t a big deal.”
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. It often is prescribed for people with severe and ongoing pain.
Used properly and obtained from a pharmacy, fentanyl is highly effective, but illicit forms of the drug are found in the drug trade.
“There’s illicit fentanyl out there that is way more potent than the fentanyl that is regulated by the pharmacy trade,” Hiebert said.
It’s shipped into the United States, he said.
As little as 2 milligrams of fentanyl can be deadly. Counterfeit pills have been found to contain as much as 5.1 milligrams of fentanyl.
Illegal heroin often is mixed with fentanyl, Hiebert said.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, the risk that illegal drugs have been intentionally contaminated with fentanyl is significant. It is both potent and low cost, so drug dealers have been mixing it with dugs including heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine. This increases the likelihood of fatal reaction.
Local law enforcement agencies have seen an increase in the number of times fentanyl is seized, Undersheriff Larry Starkey said.
The Centers for Disease Control said that while opioid overdose deaths rose 38.1% from 2020 to 2021, overdose deaths from synthetic opioids, primarily illicitly manufactured fentanyl, rose 55.6% and appear to be the main driver in increased drug overdose deaths.
A drug is available to treat opioid overdose. When administered promptly, naloxone, with the brand name Narcan, quickly reverses opioid overdose.
No prescription is needed to get Narcan. Both Hillsboro Hometown Pharmacy and CK Pharmacy in Peabody stock Narcan. To obtain it, speak to a pharmacist.
Lanning Pharmacy does not stock Narcan.
Last modified June 22, 2022