Some drugs in Lake County so potent they are putting first responders at risk

Posted at 9:10 PM, Nov 21, 2016

A new warning for first responders and police officers in Lake County. The opioid epidemic is putting their lives at risk. 

Two new opioids are on the streets of Lake County. Carfentanil and 3-Methyl Fentanyl have been identified in Lake County in nearly two dozen cases in as many months. 

The drugs are "a serious danger to law enforcement, first responders and laboratory personnel. Exposure can occur by absorption through the skin through direct contact and accidental inhalation of airborne powder," Douglas Rohde, Supervisor of Chemistry & Toxicology at the Lake County Crime Laboratory, wrote in a memo to Lake County first responders and law enforcement.

Rhode said these two drugs are extremely dangerous to first responders. "The new analogs are more potent than fentanyl. So, instead of a bicycle hitting you, it's like a Mack Truck," explained Rohde.

Rohde recommended that respirators be used when dealing with any white powder along with gloves. He also suggested that roadside drug testing ceases and not using K-9's for fear of putting the dogs at risk. 

Rohde said heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil and 3-methyl fentanyl look identical. It's only in the lab can the drug be identified, added Rohde.