KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – Police officers around the country are seeing firsthand the deadly effects of fentanyl, using Narcan and CPR to try to save lives from the deadly and potent drug.
Now, Kansas City officers have a tool called TruNarc at every patrol station to test for fentanyl and other drugs that is safer than previous tests.
Just five to seven grains of salt worth of pure fentanyl could be deadly. That's why police departments are turning to devices TruNarc to try and limit exposure.
According to the DEA, 2 milligrams of fentanyl is a lethal dose for most people.
Many people who need Narcan, which is known as the “save shot,” had no idea they’d ingested fentanyl; they thought they were taking another drug.
“We've seen it mixed in with cocaine,” said Jason Kennedy, Chief Criminalist Supervisor with the KCPD. “We’ve seen it with ecstasy tablets. We've seen it in oxycodone. We are seeing different versions of it that are even more potent.”
Now, criminalists and forensic specialists at the Kansas City Police Department Crime Lab and police officers on streets can use TruNarc -- a handheld narcotics analyzer.
Thanks to the Police Foundation of Kansas City, every patrol division has a TruNarc device.
“This device has a library of more than 200 different chemicals ranging from controlled substances, from methamphetamine to cocaine, to non-controlled substances like lactose and Benadryl,” explained Patrick Gillespie. “I am shooting it with a laser of infrared light.”
The device is safer and more accurate than the previously used NIK (Narcotics Identification System) test.
Gillespie said that, with the old tests, “They would have to open it up and scoop it out. Open this up and pour it in there.” However, TruNarc can scan through plastic bags and glass needles.
Plus, the old test could give false positive results. “Cocaine will turn this blue,” Kennedy said. “Acetone will. PCP will. Benadryl will.”
TruNarc is used to test white rock, powder, and crystal substances. So far, it has helped the Kansas City Police Crime Lab clear a backlog of 900 drug cases. It’s also been used to alert officers to know when they should wear protective gear to handle a substance.
“This helps us get an idea of what we are working with without exposing ourselves to it,” Gillespie said.