Last week, the New Haven Police Department outfitted every patrol cruiser with fentanyl kits: gloves, a sleeve, a respirator mask, a biohazard container and a baggie for safer handling of the drug.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid which was found to have caused 57 percent of Connecticut’s fatal drug overdoses this year.
The DEA says that although fentanyl was originally prescribed as a painkiller, it is now more commonly found on the street, sometimes mixed with heroin.
If officers come into contact with fentanyl, they can place the drug in a sealable bag, and dispose of them in a biohazard bin at New Haven Police Headquarters.
The American College of Medical Toxicology released a statement this summer that says police departments might not need all of the gear in the fentanyl kits. They say gloves would work for routine handling, but masks would only be needed in extreme cases.
New Haven joins the Groton and Hartford police departments in using the protective gear.