Officer Overdoses 💉☠👮🤤 On Fentanyl

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December 13, 2022: A Tavares, FL police officer, Courtney Bannick, administered a routine traffic stop. According to Officer Bannick, she was exposed to multiple narcotics during the stop, including fentanyl. After hearing her struggling to speak over the radio, other officers arrived and administered multiple doses of Narcan to Officer Brannick. Officer Brannick returned to work a few days later. Since then, some experts have questioned whether or not Brannick actually experienced an overdose.

Additional Information Via WESH2:

"Dr. Ryan Marino, a medical toxicologist, started following and studying fentanyl myths in 2017.

"Overdoses are killing hundreds of Americans every day, and the biggest driver of our overdose crisis right now is fentanyl in street drugs," Marino said. "So I mean, I think it is something that everyone should be talking about. But these myths that come up, unnecessarily scare people, distract from meaningful conversations and even prevent people from doing the things that are necessary to really stop overdoses."

However, Marino questions the validity of Bannick's experience and wants to explain what he says could happen if someone is exposed to fentanyl.

"I feel very badly that this officer had such severe symptoms and such a strong reaction. I watched the body cam footage and it is pretty dramatic. My concern is that the footage does not show anything consistent with an opioid overdose. And the symptoms that are reported, and that we're seeing, are actually the opposite of what you would see in a fentanyl overdose," Marino said.

"The biggest problem, though, is saying that she was exposed either through touch or through inhalation. I think both both theories have been put forth, whether this was something that she came into direct contact with, or they were saying that it was very windy and could have been blown into her system," Marino said. "Those are just not ways that you can overdose on fentanyl. Fentanyl doesn't work like that. It's only a risk to people who are using drugs and that is injecting, snorting or taking something by mouth."

Tavares police sent a statement to WESH 2 responding to the questions some have about Bannick's experience:

"The Tavares Police Department applauds the officers who stepped up to administer life-saving action when needed and is proud of Officer Bannick for her bravery in the face of a traumatic and dangerous situation.

Since the incident, questions have been raised to the validity of Officer Bannick’s experience.

'Not only does the Department trust Officer Bannick; we also know we know her experience is, unfortunately, not unique,' Chief Sarah Coursey said. 'Fentanyl exposure is a real and ever-growing threat to first responders. Studies completed years ago do not accurately reflect the strength and risk of current street-level fentanyl.'

While most of the questions revolve around whether a fentanyl overdose can happen through skin contact, it is unclear how Officer Bannick came into contact with the drug. Inhalation due to high winds during the incident is as likely as skin contact.

We are still investigating the traffic stop Officer Bannick participated in when she was exposed to fentanyl. We anticipate charges to be filed once that investigation is completed, however, no documents or evidence can be shared until the case is closed. This includes Officer Bannick’s medical records, which are important to ensuring those involved face appropriate punishments."

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