New plan by State Police keeps K-9 units safe from deadly drug

BOSTON (WHDH) - State Police dogs are on the front line in the war on drugs, guided by their acute sense of smell to locate narcotics.

It’s always been a risky job, but something has changed to put these crime-fighting canines in even more danger. A powerful new man-made drug is flooding our area, and if the dogs get anywhere close to it they could die.

It’s called Fentanyl, and it can be a hundred times more potent than heroin and inhaling even small amounts of the powder can be lethal to the dogs who are working to keep us safe. While the Drug Enforcement Agency has not trained their dogs on Fentanyl, they say they are encountering it more and more at crime scenes and drug raids.

Just last month during a raid in Florida, three police dogs nearly died when they came in contact with the drug. Now the DEA is using a video to warn police K-9 units that the dangerous drug could kill their “canine companions and partners.”

When police officers are exposed to Fentanyl there is something that can save them from the potentially deadly symptoms. It’s a nasal spray called Narcan, and it’s often given to people who have overdosed on Heroin.

But this spray doesn’t work on dogs.

Captain Joseph King, from the Massachusetts State Police, says many detectives have asked them what they’re doing about the dangers of Fentanyl, so they’re making a change to protect their furry partners.

The department will be one of the first in the country to carry injectable Narcan. Veterinarians say giving the dogs a shot of Narcan, instead of the spray, could save their lives if they’ve been exposed.

“These dogs do great work for us and we have a lot of time and money invested into them. And there’s a lot of devotion the dogs are devoted to us and we are to them…and we will do whatever we can to keep them safe,” says Captain King.

The Massachusetts State Police say they will begin carrying the injectable Narcan in January.

The department says it has already been contacted by other police departments looking to provide the same protection for their dogs.

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