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.