EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – It’s been ten months since East Liverpool police officer Chris Green accidentally overdosed after a traffic stop.
Tuesday, the man accused of having the opioid Green was exposed to pleaded guilty to multiple charges, including assault on a police officer. However, that’s not the end of it for Green. In fact, the whole ordeal affected him professionally and personally.
Justin Buckle’s arrest was part of Operation Big Oak, a sting operation that netted 100 arrests. Green was off duty the night he was called in to pull over and arrest Buckle. Little did he know how that would change his future.
“You don’t know if you are coming home at night. Something that simple, something that you really can’t see,” Green said.
In Green’s case, it was powder Fentanyl from an arrest that he couldn’t see on his shirt. When another officer pointed it out to him, he brushed it off with his hand and overdosed.
It took four rounds of Narcan before Green finally woke up in the hospital.
“It affected my personal life. My friends and family now constantly worry,” Green said.
The ordeal put Green in the national spotlight with police departments wanting Green to tell his story so officers could learn from it. Many people who heard his story reached out to say “Get well, soon.”
“When you do this job long enough you almost become you become cynical and it changes you mentally and physically, but to get a response like that when you nearly lost your life is overwhelming and uplifting,” Green said.
Green said it took him a while to bounce back physically and mentally. He said he still sees some effects from it occasionally but was relieved by Buckle’s six and a half year sentence.
“Another officer that took him to jail says he was making ignorant comments about basically, ‘I’m glad it’s Officer Green that overdosed,’” Green said.
Green says Buckle was a member of The Heartless Felons, a street gang from Cleveland that trafficked drugs into the area. He says drugs have been nearly wiped out of East Liverpool since many of the arrests.
“If they hate you that much, these types of people, these drug dealers, these druggies then you are doing something right. You are doing your job. I’m passionate about my city and I’m never going to stop,” Green said.
Green’s overdose led to departments around the country changing the way their officers handle drugs and car searches.