By U.S. Government [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Official figures for the human cost of the opioid crisis in 2017 are not yet in, but news reports from around the country make it clear that this crisis is far from over. The addition of fentanyl has increased the danger to members of the public and also to law enforcement officers. In response, law enforcement organizations have developed resources to help officers keep safe.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has published a webpage with the best information there is about fentanyl. Resources include the DEA’s 2017 Drugs of Abuse Resource Guide, a 2017 briefing guide for first responders, the DEA’s 2016 brief on counterfeit pills made with fentanyl, and a video they produced in 2017, in which two law enforcement officers discussed being poisoned by fentanyl in the line of duty.

The Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), which sets the minimum selection and training standards for all California law enforcement, recently released a video to warn law enforcement officers about the dangers of fentanyl exposure. The video highlighted how easy it would be for an officer to accidentally expose themselves, their co-workers or even their family members to fentanyl.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) lists recommendations to protect emergency responders, explaining when various types of responders are most likely to be exposed to fentanyl, safe operating procedures, and levels of personal protective equipment needed for various situations.

If you are a member of a law enforcement organization and want additional safety training when dealing with fentanyl, the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI) offers training courses around the country. For example, at the Minnesota Chapter Training coming up on April 26th, there is a whole session focusing on counterfeit pills made with fentanyl.