A horrifying viral video showing a police officer collapsing after he overdosed due to accidental exposure to a "deadly drug" has been questioned by several sceptical experts.
Bodycam footage shows the moment Deputy David Faiivae and Corporal Scott Crane discover a mysterious powder at a parking lot on their first call of the day.
The harrowing video shows the pair testing on the powder, which they believe could be either cocaine or fentanyl.
After they realise it's fentanyl, Crane warns his trainee "that stuff’s no joke – it is super dangerous" before Faiivae takes some steps back and suddenly collapses to the floor.
Multiple medical and addiction experts who have analysed the footage say the San Diego County Sheriff's department has promoted a "false narrative" about the drug, The Independent reports.
Dr Priscilla Hanudel, an emergency medicine physician in Los Angeles, told ABC News that the officer was much more likely to have fainted or suffered a seizure than to have had any sort of reaction to fentanyl.
Fentanyl is a powerful opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine and heroin, it is usually used as pain medication and together with other medications for anesthesia.
Dr Stephanie Widmer, an emergency medicine physician, said: "People with the intent to get high, may overdose after snorting or insufflating fentanyl – this is not to be confused with passively inhaling fentanyl powder that somehow became suspended in the air.
"Overdosing from such an exposure would be exceedingly rare and likely unheard of."
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The video by the San Diego sheriff’s department was part of an effort to raise awareness about the increasing rates of fentanyl overdoses.
It was reportedly released by the San Diego sheriff's department in an effort to raise awareness about the increase in fentanyl overdoses.
But medical experts claim that misinformation about the drug does not help curb the opioid crisis currently unravelling in America.
Dr Hanudel claimed that a reaction to the drug seen in the video is "almost never seen" and that officers and health care workers don’t experience overdoses of fentanyl.
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She said: "It takes about 200 minutes of exposure to reach a starting dose. It would be very unlikely to happen in a very brief exposure.
"We wouldn’t want first responders, police officers, healthcare workers to have a fear of something that is extremely unlikely and that would prevent them from doing their jobs with confidence."
The Drug Policy Alliance has also critiqued the sheriff's department, calling the video "unconscionable and completely irresponsible".
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In a statement, they said: "Content like this simply creates more fear and irrational panic that fuels further punitive responses to the overdose crisis."
Ryan McNeil, assistant professor in the Yale School of Medicine and director of Harm Reduction Research with the Yale Programme in Addiction Medicine, told ABC News: "We have experienced such profound loss across this country, with nearly 100,000 losing their lives last year to overdose.
"The last thing that we need is misinformation circulating about fentanyl because this will lead to ill-informed and ineffective responses."
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