YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – As WKBN continues to cover the epidemic of heroin abuse and addiction in the area, we’re learning local police are now taking extra precautions in dealing with the drug.
Members of the Youngstown Police Vice Squad say they recently instituted new procedures for handling suspected heroin seizures.
They’re now testing for the presence of the powerful opiate fentanyl, which is now turning up more and more mixed in with heroin.
Experts say the combination can be deadly if ingested or inhaled.
“We are running into fentanyl probably once a week now, either on the streets, a beat arrest or the vice officer’s arrest. So, we are being very careful and diligent when we are handling heroin because it is mixed with fentanyl,” said Lt. Gerard Slattery.
Police say they’re now wearing masks and gloves when handling the drugs and have doses of the overdose antidote naloxone just in case there is an accidental exposure.