Harrison Co. deputy has close call after opioid exposure

Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 9:02 PM EDT
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Cynthiana, Ky. (WKYT) -Several central Kentucky communities have seen a rise in overdose cases since the start of the pandemic.

Dangerous drugs like meth and fentanyl are still on the streets being abused.

One Harrison County Sheriff's Deputy knows the danger firsthand after a recent exposure and the life-threatening side effects it can cause.

WKYT was able to talk with the deputy about those frightening moments after a routine stop.

Deputy Joe Daniel is no stranger to the roads of Harrison County, patrols can take him just about anywhere.

On those patrols, the drug epidemic is something he sees daily. "Here lately it's really ramped back up, we are seeing a lot of meth now days," said Deputy Joe Daniel.

Last month he found himself in the northwestern part of the county at a closed down bar, when something suspicious made him pullover. What he found was two people unconscious inside the car.

The deputy says there was drug paraphernalia, syringes and even meth in the driver's lap. "So immediately I had to put him in handcuffs, place him and detain him, pat him down for weapons. Unfortunately, I didn't have my gloves on at the time," said Deputy Daniel. What he didn't know is that he had been exposed to something very dangerous.

With 12 miles to get back to Cynthiana, the deputy suddenly didn't feel well. "I only made it about two miles from the scene and I start overheating. I started feeling sick, just didn't feel right and I was sweating," said Deputy Daniel.

In his patrol truck the Deputy Daniel carries Narcan. “I actually put my hand on it and grabbed it out as I was driving. I thought at any time I was going to have to pull over and Narcan myself,” said Deputy. Daniel.

At the hospital his blood pressure spiked to 190 and he was given an IV. “I thought I was going to go down,” said Deputy Daniel.

Harrison Co. Sheriff Shain Stephens thinks his deputy may have been exposed to meth laced with either fentanyl or carfentanil, a commonly used elephant tranquilizer and even more potent than fentanyl.

“Whether that was an airborne exposure or an absorption through the hands and it happens so quickly,” said Sheriff Shain Stephens.

What happened to Deputy Daniel is a reminder that despite a pandemic, the drug epidemic rages on in communities across Kentucky.

“Day to day what we have to deal with it is very important that we are conscious that can happen and so we are faced with so many obstacles anyway, but that is scary,” said Sheriff Stephens.

For Deputy Daniel, he is thankful, just glad to be back on the job the next day.

Joseph Hensley, the driver arrested was charged with public intoxication, possession of meth and drug paraphernalia.

Copyright 2020 WKYT. All rights reserved.

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