Resources for Law Enforcement
Law enforcement is our central defense against counterfeit drugs in the United States. Federal agents and police officers all over the country are working at capacity to stop fake drug operations that threaten Americans. Opening the United States' borders to imported medicines will overwhelm law enforcement's resources and undercut their mission. In a 2017 investigation about the impacts of drug importation, former FBI Director Louis Freeh learned that the DEA, FBI, FDA, Interpol, and local police all agree that "proposals to allow drug importation from or through Canada would turn the advantage from law enforcement to criminal organizations."
On Counterfeit Drugs And Drug Importation
- What do major law enforcement organizations think about drug importation proposals? They don't like them. Read about resolutions and objections to drug importation raised by the nation's leading organizations.
- Counterfeit Drugs In America: Crimes, Victims & Solutions - our primer about the threat counterfeit medicines pose to Americans.
- Op-eds from Policymakers on Drug Importation - law enforcement, regulators and patient advocates writing about the dangers of importation.
- Report on the Potential Impact of Drug Importation Proposals on U.S. Law Enforcement - former FBI Director Louis Freeh's 2017 report about the dangerous effects of drug importation.
First Responders and Fentanyl
Illicit, imported fentanyl and its analogues have become a significant driver in the opioid epidemic.The drugs–which may be sold as powder; mixed into heroin, cocaine and other illegal drugs; or made into counterfeit pills–have caused a spike in fatal overdose deaths across the country. These drugs are a significant threat to law enforcement and other first responders who may encounter them.
Police officers and other first responders may encounter raw fentanyl, fentanyl pills or fentanyl in the process of being made into pills in the course of their work. Officers have been sickened and overdosed because of tiny exposures to these drugs, and it is vital that they protect themselves.
Illegal Pill Presses: An Overlooked Threat to American Patients (NABP, NADDI & PSM, March 2019) An overview of the current state of illicit pill presses.
Fentanyl: A Briefing Guide for First Responders (DEA, June 2017). Offers an overview of fentanyl trafficking in the U.S. and guidance for first responders about how to protect themselves.
Protecting First Responders on the Frontlines of the Fentanyl Epidemic (Meeting Proceedings, Department of Homeland Security, September 2017)
Fentanyl 101. Our infographic explains what fentanyl is, where it comes from and how it's getting into counterfeit medicines in the U.S.
Counterfeit Pills Made with Fentanyl. PSM maintains updated information about incidents involving counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl on this page and its state subpages. Check here to see how counterfeit pills are affecting your state.
Media Reports of Officer Exposure to Fentanyl
Unless noted in the linked article, exposure has not been confirmed by toxicological tests.
Corrections Officer Exposed to Fentanyl When Inmate Threw Drugs on Floor, DOC Says (Alaska, May 2, 2019)
Officer Passes Out in Patrol Car After Handling Fentanyl During Traffic Stop, Police Say (Iowa, March 7, 2019)
Phoenix Police Officer Came into Contact with Fentanyl During Investigation (Arizona, February 15, 2019)
Sunnyvale Officer Hospitalized After Possible Fentanyl Exposure (California, February 14, 2019)
Jackson County Deputy Accidentally Overdoses, is Revived With Narcan After Exposure to Fentanyl During Arrest (Florida, January 15, 2018)
8 Deputies From Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office Hospitalized for Possible Exposure to Fentanyl (Ohio, November 7, 2018)
Campbell Police Officer Details Near Overdose Experience (Ohio, October 21, 2018)
‘I Was Dying’: Alameda County Detective Breaks Silence on Fentanyl Poisoning (California, September 25, 2018)
Official: Officers, Firefighters On Call Inhale Fentanyl (Delaware, September 7, 2018)
7 Conn. Officers Exposed To Fentanyl In Drug Raid (August 24, 2018)
Laurel County Deputy, K-9 Decontaminated After Fentanyl Found in Cruiser (Kentucky, August 15, 2018)
Shelby County Sheriff's Deputy Hospitalized After Being Exposed to Fentanyl (Tennessee, August 15, 2018)
Deputies Exposed to Fentanyl Following Arrest (Kentucky, August 15, 2018)
Three Cranston Officers Become Ill After Fentanyl Bust (Rhode Island, August 12, 2019)
Toledo Couple Charged After Police Officer Is Exposed To Fentanyl (Ohio, July 26, 2018)
Erie County Forensic Lab Chemist Revived With Narcan After Suffering Overdose Handling Evidence (New York, July 20, 2018)
Meriden Police Officer Recovering After Being Exposed To Fentanyl (Connecticut, July 19, 2018)
Deputies Who Respond To Overdose Hospitalized For Fentanyl Exposure (Louisiana, July 9, 2018)
Hobart Paramedic Suspects Exposure To Powerful Synthetic Opioid Caused Hospitalization (Indiana, July 7, 2018)
Missouri Officer Injured Trying to Save Overdose Victim (July 3, 2018)
Narcan Saves Alameda County Sheriff’s Detective Nearly Killed By Fentanyl Cloud (California, June 26, 2018)
Southwick Police Officers Self-Administer Narcan After Exposure During Overdose Response (Massachusetts, June 18, 2018)
Police Officer Exposed To Fentanyl During Search (North Carolina, May 27, 2018)
Three Police Officers Treated For Fentanyl Exposure During Two Separate Arrests (Wisconsin, May 25, 2018)
Fayetteville Officer Treated For Fentanyl Exposure (North Carolina, May 10, 2018)
Griffith Officer's Possible Drug Exposure Case Highlights Risks Police Face On The Job (Indiana, April 26, 2018)
Officer Treated After Allegedly Coming Into Contact With Suspected Fentanyl (West Virginia, April 16, 2018)
Officers, EMTs Treated After Possible Exposure To Fentanyl (Massachusetts, April 6, 2018)
Man Facing Charges Of Exposing Trumbull Co. [OH] Deputies to Drugs (January 18, 2018).
Rockingham County [NH] Sheriff's Deputies Treated For Exposure To Fentanyl (New Hampshire, December 8, 2017)
First Responder Overdoses Underline Extreme Danger To Opioid Exposure (Ohio, November 25, 2017)
Police: Substance That Sickened Officer Included Fentanyl (Rhode Island, November 18, 2017)
Keeping Drugs At Arm’s Length (New York, October 28, 2017)
Pa. To Fund Opioid Overdose Antidote For First Responders (October 5, 2017)
New Hanover [PA] Officers Taken To Hospital After Exposure To Fentanyl (October 5, 2017)
With Opioids So Strong, Here's How DEA Agents Protect Themselves (September 27, 2017)
Deadly Fentanyl Leads County Cops To Halt Field Tests (Pennsylvania, August 12, 2017)
[Pittsburgh] SWAT Team OK After Suspected Fentanyl Exposure During Raid (August 10, 2017)
UPDATE: Deputy Given Narcan After Opiate Exposure Shares Story (Kentucky, July 12, 2017)
These Three Very Good Police Dogs Overdosed On Fentanyl — And Lived (Florida, July 1, 2017)
[GA] Police Officers Exposed To Fentanyl After Spill In Vehicle (June 28, 2017)
In Opioid Crisis, A New Risk For Police: Accidental Overdose (Maryland, May 27, 2017)
Heroin Is Increasingly Common In Sedgwick County (Kansas, October, 11, 2016)