Opioid Exposure Adversely Affecting First Responders: A Case Report

The ongoing opioid crisis has caused an increase in drug-related overdose deaths over the past few years. In addition to destroying the lives of the opioid users and their families, concerns are rising about the potential threat the occupational exposure to these drugs is having on law enforcement officers (LEOs) who are involved in these cases.  Media reports of incidences where exposure to illicit drugs by LEOs have caused negative health effects have enhanced the need to investigate the correlation.

Two case investigations were recently reviewed where multiple LEOs were exposed to stimulant drugs, both opioid and non-opioid, and experienced health effects.  Although the effects were not consistent with severe, life‐threatening opioid toxicity, they did temporarily preclude affected LEOs from performing their essential job duties.

Based on the results from these case reviews, the researchers suggest additional investigation relating to the occupational risks associated with illicit drugs and first responders is warranted.  Specific toxicological evaluations are also recommended to better understand the potential exposures and risks.

Read the full article here:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31016761