In order to create protection for their local police officers from dangerous powders like fentanyl, the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory Bureau has been ordered to allow officers to perform field tests in a lab rather than in a storage room or at the crime scene.
“Law enforcement officers step into the unknown at the start of every shift, so we must minimize risks and whenever possible, provide certainty that can save lives,” said Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel. “The influx of fentanyl into our state is troubling because a small amount of the drug has the potential to cause great harm, even to unsuspecting people like law enforcement officers.”
Crime lab analysts will supervise these officers, and police doing the testing will be equipped with goggles, gloves and a respirator or medical mask. These labs will also have emergency doses of Narcan, an antidote for opiates overdoses, on hand in case they are needed.
“Just touching fentanyl or accidentally inhaling the substance during enforcement activity or field testing the substance can result in absorption through the skin and that is one of the biggest dangers with fentanyl,” says a report from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
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