Pittsburgh, PA - Eighteen police officers were taken to a local hospital for treatment on Wednesday, August 9, after exposure to an unknown chemical during a raid.
The incident occurred about 6 AM at three locations in the West End, according to CBS Local Pittsburgh. The officers included U.S. ICE, Homeland Security, Pittsburgh police officers, and Pittsburgh SWAT officers. They were serving federal search warrants at two houses on Lakewood Avenue, and one house on Bond Street.
The 18 officers, who were not identified, were transported to UPMC Mercy Hospital for treatment after they began experiencing dizziness and numbness. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the substance that the officers were believed to have been exposed to was fentanyl.
The drug has become extremely dangerous for accidental exposures to police officers and police K9s. Some officers have had to be administered Narcan after overdosing due to accidental exposure during a search. Police are taking extra precautions when dealing with any type of situation that might result in an accidental exposure of an unknown powder.
All officers have since been cleared by hospital doctors and staff, and have been released. Several people were arrested for drugs during the raids. No information has released on their names or specific charges.
Now that there have been numerous accidental overdoses of law enforcement officers, many agencies have started telling their officers to cease all field testing of drugs, for fear that they might be accidentally exposed.
Just a year ago we were discussing officers carrying the overdose-reversal drug Narcan in order to treat overdosing heroin addicts. Now we're faced with officers carrying Narcan for themselves in case of a fentanyl exposure.