East Liverpool, Ohio, police officer Chris Green overdosed on fentanyl after coming into contact with drug residue at a crime scene. The Columbiana County law enforcement officer got just a small amount of the deadly opioid on his clothing during a traffic stop on Friday evening.
Officer Chris Green responded to a traffic stop call on West 8th and Lisbon Streets around 9 p.m. on Friday. The driver of a blue Monte Carlo, Justin Buckel, 25, was allegedly involved in a drug deal a short time earlier, East Liverpool Police Chief John Lane said during an interview with Inside Edition.
Justin Buckel and his passenger, Cortez Collins, 24, allegedly tried to dispose of the fentanyl that Ohio police officials believe they were carrying when they saw Chris Green’s cruiser appear with flashing lights behind them.
“They [the suspects] rubbed it into the carpet, ripped bags open, got in on their clothes, their shoes,” Chief Lane also said. “There was white powder everywhere.”
Chris Green and several other officers donned gloves and masks, as East Liverpool Police Department protocol requires, and searched Justin Buckel’s car for drugs.
It was only once Green and got back to the Ohio police station that one of his fellow officers realized white powder was present on the shirt of his uniform.
East Liverpool (Ohio) Police Officer Chris Green is recovering from accidental contact with a dangerous drug. https://t.co/MZdhuz0CPM
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“They’re sitting there talking, decompressing and someone said to him, ‘You got something on your shirt.’ He brushed it off and they went back to talking,” Chief Lane said. “If he would have been alone, he would have been dead. That’s how dangerous this stuff is.”
Officer Chris Green’s health quickly began to deteriorate. The Ohio police officer eventually lost consciousness and suffered what has been deemed a fentanyl overdose.
“I don’t feel good,” the East Liverpool police officer suddenly said just before passing out.
A dose of Narcan was immediately given to the Ohio police officer at the station. An ambulance rushed Chris Green to a local hospital, where he was given three more doses of Narcan.
“I started talking weird. I slowly felt my body shutting down. I could hear them talking, but I couldn’t respond,” the Ohio police officer told the Morning Journal. “I was in total shock. ‘No way I’m overdosing,’ I thought.”
Although Green’s condition has improved since the fentanyl overdose, he was still in the midst of recovering on Monday. The East Liverpool police chief said his officer is still suffering from pain and is experiencing headaches. Green reportedly told Lane it still “feels like someone kicked him in the chest.”
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Chief John Lane said the fentanyl opioid overdose Chris Green suffered was life-threatening and could have had a far more dire outcome.
“Think about this, nobody sees that on his shirt. He leaves and goes home, takes off that shirt, throws it in the wash. His mom, his wife, his girlfriend goes in the laundry, touches the shirt — boom,” the Ohio police chief said. “They drop. He goes home to his kid. ‘Daddy! Daddy!’ They hug him — Boom. They drop. His dog sniffs his shirt, it kills his dog. This could never end.”
The East Liverpool police official is frustrated about the growing problem in his community. He noted a police officer should not survive his shift and then go home and die after making a drug arrest. The two suspects involved in the traffic stop that caused the Ohio police officer to overdose allegedly lied about the white powder found scattered about inside the car. Buckel and Cortez said the powder was cocaine, according to the police chief.
Lane said drug dealers do not care who comes into contact with the deadly substances they throw out car windows or elsewhere to avoid arrest. He said they simply do not care if a child finds a bag of fentanyl on the ground and picks it up. Lane dubbed the callous behavior or drug dealers as “insane.”
“It’s just the smallest amount that can kill, like a granule of sugar — or if it gets airborne, it can kill more than one person,” Chief Lane warned.
The drug epidemic in Ohio has been growing over the past several years. Columbiana County along with more rural areas like Vinton County and Ross County have seen a spike in both drug arrests and overdoses.
This is not the first time the East Liverpool Police Department has made national headlines involving a drug overdose. Last September, the Columbiana County police department shared photographs of a child sitting stoically in the backseat of a car while his grandmother and her boyfriend overdosed on what the East Liverpool police believe was heroin.
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