EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – An East Liverpool police officer, while responding to a drug-involved call Friday night, accidentally touched fentanyl and overdosed.
Around 8:50 p.m., East Liverpool Patrolman Chris Green responded to a traffic stop at the bottom of Lisbon Street at W. 8th Street.
According to a police report, officers had blocked in a blue Monte Carlo after watching the driver — 25-year-old Justin Buckle — perform what they believed was a drug transaction.
“We think they were trying to flee, but they were blocked in,” said East Liverpool Captain Patrick Wright. “Once they got blocked in, they tried to dispose of the evidence in the vehicle…There was white powder on the seat, on the floor, on the guys’ shoes, and on his clothing.”
After Buckle and passenger 24-year-old Cortez Collins were arrested, Green followed station protocol for handling drugs by putting on gloves and a mask when he searched the car.East Liverpool officer recovers from drug poisoning, has warning for dealers
But when he got back to the station, another officer noticed Green had some of the white powder on his shirt.
“Just out of instinct, he tried to brush it off — not thinking,” Wright said.
An hour later, Green passed out at the station from overdosing on the white powder that police think was fentanyl. The drug can get into the body just through contact with the skin.E. Liverpool police: Deadly drugs coming from Cleveland street gang
“They called an ambulance for him and the ambulance responded for him,” Wright said. “They gave him one dose of Narcan here and then transported him to East Liverpool City Hospital, where they gave him three additional doses of Narcan.”
Captain Wright said Green is fine as of Sunday.
He added it’s a scary example of how the drug epidemic has forced police officers to change aspects of their job.
“We changed our procedures to where we used to field test drugs,” Wright said. “We don’t do that any longer because of accidental exposures.”
Buckle, of East Liverpool, and Collins, of Cleveland, are both charged with tampering with evidence. They each waived their rights at a preliminary hearing on Monday. Bond was set at $100,000 each.
Collins had an active arrest warrant out of Euclid.