Have you wondered if there were any police departments that were using the latest narcotics analysis technology to identify drugs in the field and protect their officers from being harmed by carfentanyl, fentanyl and other synthetic opioids? Here is a sampling of news reports about the various police departments across the United States (and beyond) who are using narcotics analyzers to help combat the opioid epidemic by safely identifying unknown substances in the field.
1. Kearney Police Department gets new handheld narcotics analyzers
Kearney Hub (Kearney, NE)
Police Chief Bryan Waugh said: “The need to identify these banned substances safely and accurately has never been more important,” he said. “The scanner will allow officers to rapidly identify drugs safely.”
2. How a new handheld tool is helping narcotics investigators in Kentucky
“A lot of times when you had to do a field test, you had to take the substance out of its package. Now we don’t have to do that, so that limits our officers’ exposure to potentially harmful substances,” said Todd Young, deputy director of the Bowling Green-Warren County Drug Task Force.
This donation was made as a strategic response to the growing threat of synthetic drugs, particularly amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) and new psychoactive substances (NSP).
“Even the dealers on the street saying, ‘I’m selling heroin, or I’m selling fentanyl, but actually they’re selling morphine, or they’re selling tramadol or they don’t even know what they have,” explains Lt. Kevin Kinnard, director of the Brown County Drug Task Force…When investigators execute a drug bust, they have to figure out what baggies of pills and powders actually contain…Using this [instrument] means no more taking the drugs out of bags and creating potential exposure to dangerous, or even lethal, chemicals. “We’re concerned about accidental overdoses when we’re processing, for instance, opioids and synthetic opioids,” says Kinnard. “It is an extra safety precaution for us.”
5. COSMPD, Drug Task Force acquire TruNarc drug testing device
Courier Express (St. Marys, Pennsylvania)
“The device has been used already to identify, heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamines, various prescription pills, synthetic cannabinoids and common cutting agents used with various controlled substances,” Patrolman Derrick Welsh said.
6. “New device helps Greenville Police identify narcotics”
Greenville News (South Carolina)
Sergeant Tim Conroy of the Greenville Police Department demonstrates the device that lets officers safely identify various forms of narcotics. On camera, he places a bag containing a white powder against the device and shows how safely the analyzer immediately identifies the unknown substance, without his having to open the bag and release the powder.
7. “Fentanyl fuels concerns over police drug tests in the field”
KGW8 (Portland, OR):
This Portland television station reports on how Oregon state troopers are being protected from potential danger when they come across unknown substances, especially powders that could be inhaled and cause harm. There are now narcotics analyzers that can test drugs without requiring that they be removed from packaging. This feature is becoming increasingly important as some drugs, like fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, can be 50 times more potent than street-level heroin. If a trooper had to take some of the substance out of the package to test it, it could cause accidental exposure to the officers.
> Article and video: Fentanyl fuels concerns over police drug tests in the field
The rise in synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, caused a Chicago area sheriff’s department to put a quash on testing drugs and unknown substances anywhere they wanted. In order to protect the officers’ health, the Porter County Sheriff’s Department turned to new drug testing technology that uses a laser to scan and identify a substance without exposing officers to the drug. Although officers are trained to wear gloves and not touch anything potentially dangerous, there are instances where officers in other parts of the country have had close encounters of overdosing after being exposed to fentanyl.
Thanks to their new narcotics analyzer, Aransas Pass officers will no longer have to wait on the DPS lab for test results. For officers it’s a pretty simple process. All they have to do is point the laser at the chemical, and wait about a minute for the results. According to officials, this new device will not only help save officers time, but also streamline court cases, and save taxpayer money. The Aransas Pass Police Department used federal drug seizure funds to buy the device.
Last year, Cambridge Police in Massachusetts unveiled their new electronic device that can identify drugs on the scene. Local police explained how they would come across packages or syringes and with their narcotics analyzer could determine at that moment, what the substance was in the field.
> Article and video: Cambridge Police Have New Tool To Combat Drugs
11. “TruNarc protects police while detecting drugs”
WTHR Channel 13 (Central Indiana)
An Indiana State Police Trooper explains how using their five narcotics analyzers in the field is giving them another layer of protection. The officer showed how the instrument works, by testing a pill in a glass bottle. It took less than two minutes to show that particular pill was just ibuprofen; however, previously the department tested and identified methamphetamine, cocaine. They used to have to send drugs to the state lab for testing, sometimes only to come back harmless. Now, troopers say they’re saving time and money.
> Article: TruNarc protects police while detecting drugs
12. “Police Officers Face New Challenges with Drug Epidemic”
The Laconia Daily Sun (New Hampshire)
Gilford police sergeant demonstrates the use of the department’s narcotics analyzer by testing a powdery substance in a closed plastic container. The department was able to purchase its device with drug forfeiture money.
Editor’s Note… This is an update to an article originally published in April, 2018.