Guelph Police officer treated for possible fentanyl exposure at crash scene

A Guelph Police officer who responded to a collision in the city's north end last month was likely exposed to fentanyl, the force says.

Officers now carrying naloxone to use in suspected opioid overdose cases

A Guelph Police officer may have been exposed to fentanyl at the scene of a crash in the city's north end on Sept. 27. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

A Guelph Police officer may have been exposed to fentanyl at the scene of a collision late last month.

It's the first time an officer in Guelph has been exposed to the drug, Const. Bryan Dean told CBC News.

"As far as we know or are aware of, this is the only incident so far of any officer being exposed to opiates and the like," Dean said.

The male officer attended a crash at Speedvale Avenue and Woolwich Street in Guelph at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 27 and came across a quantity of white powder inside one of the vehicles, police said in a release Thursday morning.

The officer took precaution during the seizure of the suspected drugs, but became unintentionally exposed to the seized drugs, the force said.

"As soon as the officer realized he wasn't feeling well taking into account he had handled the powdered substance, fortunately they were right there on scene and dealt with him and took him directly to the hospital," Dean said.

Paramedics were on scene and were able to treat the officer and take him to hospital.

Officers to start carrying naloxone

The seized drugs were sent to Health Canada to be tested to confirm whether it contained fentanyl. Testing takes several weeks.

"It's not uncommon to get a four to six month window to get any kind of results back," Dean said. "To be fair to them (Health Canada), I think they're seeing an increase (in requests for tests) as well."

A 50-year-old Guelph man has been charged with driving while impaired by drugs, possession for the purpose of trafficking and careless driving.

Accidental exposure to fentanyl is one of the reasons Guelph Police officers started to carry naloxone this month. All officers will be given naloxone over the coming weeks "so if there's any doubt, they can administer to themselves as well as each other," Dean said.