San Antonio – San Antonio Area law enforcement cadets are being trained on how to take illicit drugs off the streets without coming in contact with them and becoming ill; things like fentanyl and carfentanyl are among the deadliest and most popular on the streets.
Instructor Mike Davis at the Alamo Area Council of Governments says cadets have to be trained to handle drugs like hazardous materials.
“They are, you know, exposed to hazardous materials in the form of dangerous drugs that could be airborne, that, you know, they could result in illness based on contact or long-term exposure,” he explains.
A mask and plastic medical-grade gloves are a good foundation for protection against drugs like fentanyl and carfentanyl, he explains.
“Carfentanyl, which is otherwise known as an elephant tranquilizer, was also being mixed in. And Carfentanyl actually is 10,000 more potent than morphine,” said Davis. “It’s very rare but it is out there.”
Basic knowledge not to let the skin touch drugs can do a lot to help a first responder stay safe, although there are other airborne exposure dangers.
“It becomes very dangerous overall. It’s already a dangerous job. And we know that our first responders have to intervene. They have to take these dangerous drugs off the street,” Davis said.
If the skin comes in contact with a drug powder, he says cadets are trained not to use alcohol wipes, hand sanitizer, or warm water to wash it off because those things open up the pores of the skin and allow the drug to enter the system.
They’re also trained on how and when to use Narcan to stop an overdose. Davis says it’s a life-saving tool that’s already helped first responders in Texas.