Fearing fentanyl exposure from overdose victim, Hawaii police officer self-administered Narcan

“You never can be too cautious."
Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 5:13 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 30, 2022 at 11:53 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Hawaii County Police officer assigned to the South Hilo patrol district self-administered a dose of Narcan after responding to a fatal overdose call this week on Banyan Drive.

The officer, whose name is not being released, feared she was exposed to the powerful opioid fentanyl.

The department confirmed to Hawaii News Now that the officer started feeling ill after the call Wednesday and used the antidote for opioids before going to the hospital to be checked out.

“You never can be too cautious,” said Hawaii County Police Captain Rio Amon-Wilkins, “especially with fentanyl. Such a small amount can be deadly.”

Officers use gloves and masks when responding to emergencies.

But law enforcement nationwide have been exposed after drugs accidentally got on their clothes or in their eyes.

Narcan nasal spray
Narcan nasal spray(ADAPT Pharma, Inc.)

Hawaii County police don’t know what drug killed the overdose victim.

“What the officer did was a good choice at the time with all the unknowns,” said Amon-Wilkins.

Narcan is distributed to first responders statewide.

Highly potent batch of fentanyl linked to ‘multiple’ recent deaths on Hawaii Island, authorities say

Maui and Kauai police officers have saved citizens overdosing from opioids. And as the fentanyl crisis spreads, more rescue workers will likely be exposed.

“You have to take that precaution going in,” said Robert Cavaco, president of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers. He given the widespread abuse of fentanyl, exposure is always possible for responding officers.

The officer was checked out at Hilo Medical Center and has since returned to work.