Fentanyl Experts Say Video Of Florida Officer Having A Medical Emergency Is Not An Overdose

FOX 35 investigates is digging into this Viral video of a Tavares officer in medical danger. The department called what happened a fentanyl overdose. The video has received significant pushback from members of the medical community who say that what is happening is simply not that.

FOX 35 took the video directly to two of the world’s leading toxicologists. Both have spent years studying fentanyl and its effects. While they both agree that some sort of medical emergency is occurring, they say what is seen on the video is not consistent with an opioid overdose.

“There’s just not a practical way in an outdoor environment for that to happen,” said Dr. Lewis Nelson, a medical toxicologist in addiction medicine and chair of the department of emergency medicine at Rutgers Medical School.

Dr. Nelson of Rutgers Medical School co-published a landmark study saying that passive exposure to fentanyl is nearly impossible. This means that simply coming into contact with the drug is not enough to overdose. He says a small dose wiped off a hose or inhaled wouldn’t be enough to cause one either.

“You see on TV when they put a line on. You have to have a good amount to get into your body,” Nelson said. “You’re not going to put some powder on your hand and put it up your nose. You’re not going to get sick from it.”

Toxicology experts used body camera video released by the Tavares Police Department to support their analysis. While a medical emergency is occurring, they say it’s not consistent with an overdose.


“She’s getting out of the car. “If you overdose on fentanyl or opiates, you don’t have a pastoral tone. You are not awake. You are unconscious. You’re breathing is slow. Her eyes are closed,” said Dr. Andrew Stolbach, a medical toxicologist, an emergency physician at Johns Hopkins Hospital and chair of the board of the American College of Medical Toxicology. “We see here that she is sitting at one point. She says my chest hurts a lot. Again, opioid toxicity, you’re asleep. You’re unconscious.”

Officer Bannick spoke to FOX35 believing that Narcan was the thing that saved his life.

“Narcan only works to reverse opioid overdoses. It doesn’t work to get you out of anxiety attacks,” Bannick said.

While both doctors say it was a good idea to use Narcan while they were assessing the situation, they don’t think that’s what brought her back.

“It’s not consistent with Narcan or Naloxone for you to get it and then have a good response and wake up and then come right back down,” Stolbach said. “It’s just not consistent at all.”

Both Doctors believe that Officer Bannick was having some kind of reaction to what happened, but they just don’t believe it was an overdose.

“It seems so real. These are all legitimate concerns,” Nelson said. “I don’t think anybody is trying to make a quickie here. I think people really feel like they’re exposed because that’s what they’ve been told happens.”

Both doctors hope this can be a teachable moment for many, including law enforcement, about fentanyl. They want people to know that it is safe to come into contact with fentanyl and jump in to help someone who has overdosed.

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