Drug exposure the latest concern for police after Columbus officer hospitalized

Drug exposure is becoming a new concern for police officers' safety. (WSYX/WTTE)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- Drug exposure is becoming a new concern for police officers' safety.

The concern comes after a Columbus Police officer needed naloxone after being exposed to a drug at a west Columbus gas station over the weekend. A police report says an officer witnessed a woman at the gas station getting ready to use a mix of meth and some other drug.

Drug exposure has been an issue for officers in other parts of Ohio. In 2017, an Orwell police officer was exposed to drugs and showed signs of an overdose while responding to a scene. Also in 2017, an East Liverpool police officer accidentally touched fentanyl and overdosed.

Both officers in Orwell and East Liverpool were treated with Naloxone.

Columbus Police Sergeant Dean Worthington said officers rely on plastic gloves and communication with suspects for protection.

"We're equipped with hazmat suits. However, that would be kind of impractical to don one of those suits whenever you're dealing with any narcotics situation. So, what we generally do is just put on gloves. We communicate with the suspect,” explained Sgt. Worthington.

The Columbus Police officer exposed to drugs over the weekend was treated at the hospital and is said to be fine.

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