Deputy suffers fentanyl overdose after exposure to substance on patrol

On July 3, San Diego Sheriff’s Deputy David Faiivae put on his uniform and badge for his patrol shift, but he had no idea he was about to go through one of the worst days of his life after being exposed to the dangerous drug fentanyl.

Police shared body-worn video footage of the officer collapsing after being exposed to the drug while on a routine patrol. His training officer, Corp. Scott Crane, administered naloxone to reverse the drug’s effects.

"If it wasn't for the quick-thinking of his Field Training Officer, Corporal Scott Crane, in administering Naloxone, Deputy Faiivae would not be alive today," the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said in a post on social media. 

Also known as Narcan, naloxone is a nasal spray commonly used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

In 2014, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department became the first law enforcement agency in California and the Western United States to allow all deputies to carry naloxone.

In the video, Faiivae said that he almost died from his exposure to the drug.

"I don’t think people realize the severity of how deadly [fentanyl] really is," Faiivae said.

The sheriff's department said it shared body camera footage of the traumatic incident to spotlight the dangerous and often deadly effects of the drug.

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"Please take the time to share this video," said Sheriff Bill Gore. "It might save the life of your son, daughter, friend or loved one."

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, fentanyl is a synthetic opioid similar to morphine, but 50 to 100 times more potent.

"Just a few grains of fentanyl can be absorbed through the body and lead to respiratory failure and even death," the sheriff’s department said.

According to officials, fentanyl continues to be one of the greatest drug threats facing San Diego County and the nation, with fentanyl deaths in California increasing by 46% in just the last year alone.

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"Fentanyl overdoses are on the rise throughout our county," said Gore. "Every day, deputies recover fentanyl in our communities and the county jails are not immune to the dangers of this drug."

Officials said every deputy working in San Diego’s county jails also carries naloxone in the event someone in custody is experiencing an overdose.