A police officer in the City of Poughkeepsie was rushed to the hospital after being exposed to fentanyl.

On Wednesday afternoon, an unidentified police officer in the City of Poughkeepsie was on routine detail when he approached a suspicious vehicle. What happened next would end in what the police are characterizing as a "serious medical crisis".

The officer was part of the Gun Involved Violence Elimination detail. At just after 2pm he was alerted to a suspicious man and woman in the parking lot of the Napa Auto Parts Store at 364 Mill Street in Poughkeepsie. The couple, who were suspected of doing drugs, were approached by the officer while still in their vehicle.

Officer Claims He Overdosed After Being Exposed to Fentanyl

The officer says that during the investigation he removed a piece of foil containing an unknown substance from the man's pocket. While trying to determine the contents, the officer claims he felt "signs of an altered state" which included lightheadedness.

City of Poughkeepsie Police
City of Poughkeepsie Police

After radioing for backup assistance, the officer began to suspect that he was suffering from fentanyl exposure. He immediately took out a dose of naloxone and administered it to his nose. The drug used to reverse the effects of opioid overdose reportedly had a "limited effect" on the symptoms. After joining the officer at the scene, a police sergeant put him in his vehicle and rushed him to Mid-Hudson Regional Hospital.

Upon entering the hospital, the officer collapsed and was escorted into the emergency room where he was treated with Narcan. The officer was released soon after being treated.

Can Casual Fentanyl Exposure Really Cause an Overdose?

There have been many erroneous claims of people and police officers overdosing after touching objects coated with fentanyl. According to the health department at UC Davis, those are simply myths.

It is a common misconception that fentanyl can be absorbed through the skin, but it is not true for casual exposure. You can't overdose on fentanyl by touching a doorknob or dollar bill. The one case in which fentanyl can be absorbed through the skin is with a special doctor-prescribed fentanyl skin patch, and even then, it takes hours of exposure.


These false stories have led to confusion among first responders who believe they may be in danger when they are just suffering from a panic attack due to fear of exposure. Actual overdose is simply not possible from touching or even inhaling the air around the drug. Scientists say that even in very large concentrations, it takes a long time to overdose on fentanyl by breathing it in.

It's unclear if the Poughkeepsie officer tasted or inhaled a significant amount of the substance he found. If that is the case, it could have led to intoxication.

The suspect who was in possession of the substance was charged with two misdemeanors and released on an appearance ticket.

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