US police officer overdoses after touching highly potent drug

Chris Green collapsed after he handled what was suspected to be Fentanyl

US police officer overdoses after touching highly potent drug

Image: Facebook/East Liverpool Police Department

A police officer in the US has ended up in hospital after overdosing by accidentally touching a highly potent drug.

Chris Green, an officer from East Liverpool in Ohio, collapsed after he handled what was suspected to be Fentanyl.

The substance, a painkiller also used as a recreational drug, is 50 to 100 times more powerful than fellow opioids morphine or heroin.

Mr Green had searched a car on Friday night after the driver carried out an alleged drug deal.

The officer had worn gloves and a mask when searching the vehicle but, when he returned to his police station, a colleague noticed Mr Green had white powder on his shirt.

He instinctively brushed off the powder with his bare hand and, within a few minutes, collapsed.

Fentanyl can be absorbed into the body merely through skin contact.

The officer was revived with a total of four doses of opioid antidote Narcan - administered first by an ambulance crew and then later when Mr Green was taken to hospital.

Mr Green was reported to have recovered by Sunday.

What is Fentanyl?

He told local newspaper The Morning Journal: "I started talking weird. I slowly felt my body shutting down.

"I could hear them talking, but I couldn't respond. I was in total shock. 'No way I'm overdosing,' I thought."

The driver of the car Justin Buckle and his passenger Cortez Collins had been arrested and are facing charges of tampering with evidence.

Police said there was white powder all over the vehicle.

In recent years, several American states have been hit by a wave of Fentanyl-related deaths as part of an overdose epidemic across the country.

The deadly drug was described by police chief Patrick Wright as a "weapon of mass destruction".

Its variant Carfentanyl is used on animals and can be 10,000 times more potent than morphine.

American singer Prince was found to have died from an accidental overdose of Fentanyl, which can be prescribed as a painkiller, following his death last year.

During his last few months in the White House, former US President Barack Obama announced a fund to tackle the illegal supply of the deadly drug.