HOUSTON, Texas - What began as a 911 call overnight about trespassing at a local hotel ended with a Houston police officer lucky to be alive.
"Hotel workers here called because there was a male who was intoxicated here that they wanted to leave and he wasn`t leaving," explained Assistant Chief Wendy Baimbridge outside the Crown Plaza Suites on the Southwest Freeway.
The drunk suspect slipped away, but he left behind some deadly items.
"They found some narcotics substance in his room and also a weapon," said Captain Yasar Bashir.
The cop was exposed to a lethal substance, believed to be Fentanyl, after searching the suspect's hotel room.
"When the officer put these baggies in his patrol car," said Baimbridge, "At that point he started feeling ill, shortness of breath, and he was very dizzy."
The quick-thinking veteran cop immediately administered Narcan to himself, which wasn't enough. Fellow cops had to give him a second dose on the scene. He was released from Memorial Hermann Southwest a few hours later.
This incident comes on the heels of a Fentanyl-laced flyer scare targeting the Harris County Sheriff`s Department. They ultimately did not test positive for the drug, but those flyers left on patrol cars last month caused a female sergeant to feel light-headed.
"It works really well for strong pain," said Dr. Peter Stout, a toxicologist with the Houston Forensic Science Center. "But what we're seeing is, it's often used as a cutting agent. It's added into things like heroin and other drugs."
In response to the flyer scare, the growing Opioid crisis was addressed during HPD's safety awareness town hall Tuesday night.
"Fentanyl is what we refer to as a synthetic Opiod, meaning, it's not derived from morphine," said Stout. "There's a bunch of different kinds of Fentanyls. Basically chemists have modified the structure because they're trying to find more potent drugs."
Carfentanil is a real killer.
"It is 10,000 times as potent as morphine, 10,000. So a lethal dose of this is something so small, you can't see it."
Given the never-ending threat to law-enforcement, all first-responders in Houston are now armed with the Opioid antidote. "Those first few minutes, or even seconds, are very critical for you to deploy the Narcan," said Bashir. "Or take immediate action to save your life."
The lab is still testing the pills that put the cop in the E.R. and when they find the guy who left them behind.