Officer Safety Concerns With Tainted Cocaine in Florida

Cocaine Contaminated With Fentanyl is Officer Safety Concern

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Miami released a bulletin concerning a number of cocaine seizures that also contained fentanyl.  Forensic chemists discovered fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances including acetyl fentanyl, carfentanil, furanyl fentanyl, and p-fluoroisobutyryl fentanyl – in over 180 cocaine exhibits.

As to why this is occurring, the DEA said

The widespread seizures of contaminated cocaine indicate that drug dealers are commonly mixing fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances into the drug. In some cases, this is done purposefully to increase the drug’s potency or profitability. In other cases, fentanyl is inadvertently mixed into cocaine by drug dealers using the same blending equipment to cut various types of drugs, such as heroin. Regardless, the adulteration often occurs without the users’ awareness, which leads to overdose incidents.

Ramifications for Officers

I’ve written extensively about the threat that fentanyl poses to police officers on the street. In our fentanyl safety course, I’ve warned officers about the dangers of fentanyl being found in other drugs. Just recently, the DEA sent a bulletin stating that fentanyl had been found in a crystalized form. This crystallized form of fentanyl looks like cocaine or methamphetamine and should be handled with care. When dealing with drugs that could contain fentanyl, you should be wearing a respirator with P100 filters, double nitrile gloves, eye protection and arm protection if you are in short sleeves. If it is an amount larger than possession cases, you should have someone trained in dealing with fentanyl helping you. Regardless, all officers in the U.S. should be receiving training in how to safely deal with fentanyl cases.

Author: Keith Graves

Keith is a retired Police Sergeant and worked in the San Francisco Bay Area for 29 years. Keith was named as California’s Narcotics Officer of the Year and is a prior winner of MADD’s California Hero Award. He has years of experience as a Narcotics Detective and a Narcotics Unit Supervisor and is a Drug Recognition Expert Instructor (IACP #3292). Keith teaches both the DRE course and the Drug Abuse Recognition Course and has taught at the Police Academy. He has developed several drug courses for the California Narcotics Officers Association, California POST and California Colleges and currently consults POST on drug investigation procedures. Keith has held other assignments besides narcotics including Training Sergeant, Patrol Sergeant, COPPS Officer, Traffic Officer, and 20 years as a SWAT Team member and Sniper Team Leader. Keith has taught thousands of officers and businesses around the world about drug use, drug trends, compliance training and drug investigations. He is recognized as an international drug expert and has testified as an expert in court proceedings on drug cases, homicide cases and rape prosecutions. Keith earned a BA in Business Management from Saint Mary’s College of California and a MA in Criminal Justice. Keith is the Founder and President of Graves & Associates, a company dedicated to providing drug training to law enforcement and private industry.