TUCSON, Ariz. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations in Tucson hosted a two-day conference for law enforcement about the dangers of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid.
The conference held at the Tucson Police Department included information sessions from both medical and law enforcement professionals about how to stay safe when working around potential opioid drugs.
Joseph Bozenko, Drug Enforcement Agency Senior Research Chemist, explained even trace amounts of fentanyl can be lethal to anyone that is exposed. Fentanyl is known to be 50 to 100 times more deadly than heroin and an extremely strong opioid frequently found in fake pharmaceutical pills made and sold illegally.
“We are doing all we can to spread the word and ensure that everyone is aware of the clear danger we now face with this synthetic opioid epidemic,” said CBP National Targeting Center Executive Director Roland Sulliveras. “We are approaching this situation collectively as a government to manage and mitigate this present danger while still doing our jobs.”
Dr. Merlin Thomas Curry, St. Mary’s Hospital Tucson, encounters fentanyl overdose patients regularly and explained the plan ahead should be to consider everything bad.
“Opioid education is key and critical to our communities in order to combat this epidemic,” said Dr. Merlin Curry. “Fentanyl is a real danger to law enforcement officers and first responders and we should all be cautious.”
The conference also touched on the proper use of Narcan, a drug which temporarily reverses opioid overdoses. Health partners shared information about how to take precautions when dealing with any unknown substance since it can be fatal.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.