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Citing safety, 2 Texas PDs end field narcotics testing

Police Chief Art Acevedo cited a recent incident involving a deputy who was inadvertently exposed to lethal amounts of carfentanil during an investigation


By PoliceOne Staff

HOUSTON, Texas — The Houston Police Department and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office will no longer perform field drug tests.

Police Chief Art Acevedo told KTRK the policy change took effect at midnight on Saturday. 

"The last thing we want to do is end up in the hospital in the middle of the night or, God forbid, having to knock on the door because their loved one has died as a result of these extremely dangerous jobs," he said.

Acevedo cited a recent incident involving a deputy who was inadvertently exposed to lethal amounts of carfentanil during an investigation. The deputy is recovering, but the PD says took six doses of the overdose reversal drug naloxone to get him "back on the path to good health.”

DA spokesperson Paul Fortenberry told KTRK that in the last 60 days authorities have seized 11 kilograms of fentanyl. Harris County Sheriff’s Office ordered several hundred doses of Narcan specifically for the protection of first responders in the field.

"It's fair to say that words do not give it justice. It's an extremely dangerous substance," Fortenberry said. "There have been cases where officers are on the side of the road and they merely opened up a bag to field test it and the action of closing the bag forced up enough air containing the substance that it sent the officer into overdose mode."

Recently, multiple experts told Philly.com that it’s “just not plausible that getting a small amount of fentanyl on your skin is going to cause significant opioid toxicity. You don’t absorb enough drug fast enough to get toxicity that way.” But the DEA still warns that "improper handling of carfentanil, as well as fentanyl and other fentanyl-related compounds, has deadly consequences.”

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