Fentanyl-Laced Flyers Placed on Police Cars in Houston

June 27, 2018 Updated: June 28, 2018

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office in Texas was on high alert June 26 as flyers laced with the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl were placed on the windshields of patrol cars in central Houston.

“URGENT: Flyers placed on the windshields of some #HCSO vehicles this afternoon at 601 Lockwood have tested positive for the opiod [sic] Fentanyl,” said a message written on the Harris County Sheriff’s Facebook page.

“One sergeant who touched a flyer is receiving medical treatment. Call authorities if you see these flyers and DO NOT TOUCH.”

Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and is often mixed with heroin or cocaine. The majority of illicit fentanyl in the United States is manufactured in China and is largely responsible for a huge spike in overdose deaths since 2016.

Exposure through inhalation, mucous membrane contact, ingestion, and a needle prick can potentially lead to “the rapid onset of life-threatening respiratory depression,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

“Skin contact is also a potential exposure route, but is not likely to lead to overdose unless large volumes of highly concentrated powder are encountered over an extended period of time,” the CDC said. “Brief skin contact with fentanyl or its analogues is not expected to lead to toxic effects if any visible contamination is promptly removed.”

A police officer from Ohio overdosed last year after brushing some white powder off a colleague’s shirt. He passed out an hour later, and it took four doses of Narcan to revive him.

The Harris County Facebook page updated later to say the affected sergeant tested positive for fentanyl, but “is alert and receiving treatment.”

Motorists were warned to avoid the area as Harris County Fire Marshal hazmat crews treated vehicles for possible fentanyl contamination.


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