An Alameda County sheriff’s sergeant and detective are recovering after being exposed to a lethal dose of the potent opioid fentanyl while conducting a drug investigation in a motel room in unincorporated Hayward on Friday afternoon, a sheriff’s spokesman said Tuesday.
Spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly said a preliminary examination indicates that when the sergeant and detective, who are members of the county’s Narcotics Task Force, entered the room at about 1:30 p.m. on Friday they were exposed to an invisible or microscopic dust cloud of suspected fentanyl residue connected to a supply of drugs in the room.
Kelly said the detective immediately began to feel ill, was pulled outside and became unconscious and experienced respiratory distress.
The sergeant realized that his partner was likely suffering from the effects of an unintended exposure to fentanyl so he administered the opioid antidote Naloxone, also known as Narcan, to the detective, according to Kelly.
The initial dose had no effect so the sergeant administered a second dose of Naloxone to the detective and that reversed the effects of the overdose and the detective regained consciousness and began breathing normally, Kelly said.
But the sergeant, while treating the detective, became contaminated with fentanyl residue and was overcome by overdose symptoms and became very ill, according to Kelly.
The sergeant did not lose consciousness but was in distress, Kelly said.
Fortunately, paramedics arrived and both officers were transported to a hospital where they were treated and then released later in the day, according to Kelly.
“We are thankful to say that both officers are expected to make a complete and thorough recovery.”
The sergeant and detective are both back at work but sheriff’s officials are monitoring them to make sure they’re doing well emotionally after their near-death experience, he said.
Because the case is an undercover investigation, sheriff’s officials aren’t identifying the officers, suspects or location of the investigation at this time, Kelly said.
Sheriff’s officials began a Naloxone program last year as a direct result of the opioid crisis facing the country, according to Kelly.
“We learned from incidents around the country that first-responders were being exposed and overdosed by fentanyl and simply doing our job around this substance can be lethal.”