Video of San Diego deputy collapsing after fentanyl exposure is misleading, medical experts say

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SAN DIEGO (NewsNation) — Medical experts are raising concerns that a viral video of a San Diego sheriff deputy purportedly overdosing on fentanyl could be misleading.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said they released the edited body camera footage of the incident in hopes of protecting others from overdoses.

The four-minute PSA shows a trainee collapsing to the ground after touching what another officer claimed was fentanyl.

“My trainee was exposed to fentanyl and nearly died,” Corporal Scott Crane of the San Diego sheriff’s department said.

Doctors, however, say this isn’t possible. The substance doesn’t work in the human body through touch — only through inhalation or digestion.

The video is from July 3, 2021, when San Diego deputies responded to the scene of suspected drugs found in a red Jeep.

Seconds after touching the substance, trainee Deputy David Faiivae fell to the ground. His supervising officer calls it an overdose and then administers Narcan, a drug used to reverse the effects, to Faiivae.

“I remember not feeling right, and then I fall back,” Faiivae later said.

A study in the International Journal of Drug Policy shows no confirmed cases of first responders touching fentanyl and overdosing even when naloxone was used to revive them.

The International Journal of Drug Policy, the American College of Medical Toxicology and the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology further studied the effects of content showing police overdosing on fentanyl among first responders.

They found that first responders began reporting panic attack symptoms rather than reacting to drug toxicity and that dramatizing information about fentanyl could do more harm than help.

Dr. Timothy Quinn told NewsNationNow.com it’s unlikely that any individual can overdose on airborne particles of fentanyl.

“The most common method of overdose that they are experiencing in the emergency rooms are people that are coming in with a history of snorting it through their noses,” Quinn stated.

NewsNationNow.com reached out to the sheriff’s department and has not received a response yet.

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