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Fentanyl And Other Synthetic Opioids: A Danger To Police And K-9s In The Field

City of Dayton

Police K-9 units around the country have had to switch gears when it comes to using drug-sniffing dogs. That’s because powerful, synthetic opioids like fentanyl and carfentanyl are proving harmful to police officers and police dogs alike.

  Sgt. Randy Beane heads the K-9 unit for the Dayton Police Department.  He says the department is stepping up its efforts to keep both officers and their canine assistants safe.


“If we would get a package from the U.S. post office and they said, ‘hey, we believe there’s fentanyl in it,” the officers wouldn’t do a sniff on it, because it’s not worth the risk to the dogs of having them overdose and potentially dying from it,” he says.


The Dayton Police Department currently uses five police dogs, and so far the department has not experienced any overdoses.


Last September three police dogs in Florida, searching for drugs, overdosed after inhaling trace amounts of fentanyl, the Associated Press reported. The dogs were revived with the use of NARCAN.


In Dayton, Beane says DPD officers who work alongside dogs also carry an injectable form of the anti-overdose medicine, supplied by a veterinarian.


Beane also says police officers no longer conduct their own field tests on suspected drugs.


To avoid possible overdose, the department now requires officers to wear rubber gloves when handling substances and send drug evidence to a lab for testing instead.


Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.