Expert says drug cleanups should be left to professionals


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Cleaning up a crime scene many times requires a professional service so contamination is prevented. Meticulous steps must be taken and that is true for drug-related scenes.

The issue came to light Wednesday after a mother in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, about 65 miles west of Pittsburgh, died after cleaning up after her son’s overdose.

The Cambria County Coroner said 69-year-old Theresa Plummer likely absorbed a substance through her skin or had a reaction that led to her shortness of breath.

Plummer died at a local hospital Nov. 6.

Her 45-year-old son was hospitalized the previous day after she found him unresponsive in their home. Ronald Plummer was pronounced dead Nov. 7.

Locally, an East Liverpool Police Officer overdosed after coming into contact with fentanyl during a traffic stop in May.

Katie Dobson, with Servpro, said there are strict procedures they go through to make sure those types of scenes are returned to safe living spaces.

“We have protocols and procedures put in place for handling any biohazard or drug-related contaminants. And not only do we have protocols and procedures in place to do the cleanup, but also to dispose [of them] as well.”

Dobson said professionals are needed because the substances left behind can’t be handled with household cleaners or by people who don’t understand how to handle them.

“You never know what is in these substances. We know that there have been stories lately about people coming into contact with drug substances and it being absorbed right through their skin,” Dobson said. “All of our trained, certified professionals wear elaborate protective equipment to protect themselves from these substances as well as when they’re cleaning up after these situations.”

Dobson said any time there is a drug-related event in a home, it is best to call police first and then have a professional clean it up.


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