Gautier police officer hospitalized from accidental contact with fentanyl

Updated: Jul. 20, 2020 at 8:31 PM CDT

GAUTIER, Miss. (WLOX) - A Gautier police officer is at home recovering after he came in contact with fentanyl while searching a vehicle for narcotics.

Lt. David Bever said police officers wear gloves when searching a person or their vehicle to prevent accidental exposure to drugs.

“He was wearing gloves, but it was very hot out. He was sweating, wiped his face, and just doing that put him into an overdose,” said Bever. “He had to receive Narcan spray and be transported to the emergency room for medical treatment.”

Narcan spray is a nasal spray officers use when someone is unresponsive and experiencing an overdose. The Narcan spray helps the person stay responsive until the ambulance arrives.

Bever said that opioid-related calls are on the rise in Gautier.

“Right now, what we’re seeing in our area is an uptick in fentanyl-related overdoses, opioid-related overdoses,” said Bever. “Our agency alone responds to at least once a week to an overdose. There’s been a couple of deaths recently due to overdoses in our city.”

Bever feels that performing a drug search can be a danger to police officers that the public often overlooks.

“People are aware of the common dangers we face from movies and stuff, but there’s also other dangers that we officers come across,” said Bever. “Fentanyl is such a potent narcotic that it only takes a little bit to make an average person go into overdose and possibly die from it.”

An investigation is underway to learn more about the driver of the vehicle and where the narcotics were found.

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