BOSTON - With overdoses on the rise, a company that specializes in crime scene and bio hazard clean-up is expanding their services to include training on how to deal with fentanyl overdoses.
24 Trauma, one of the only companies in New England equipped to safely handle a fentanyl contamination scene, has been working with local police departments and training thousands of police officers across the state.
Fentanyl, a deadly synthetic opioid that's almost 100 times more potent than morphine, is dangerous to the point where technicians dealing with it need to wear the highest level of hazmat gear.
"Its a game changer, it effects anyone who comes into contact with it - it doesn't discriminate," said 24 Trauma CEO Mike Wiseman.
Because fentanyl can be ingested orally, inhaled through the nose or absorbed through the skin or eyes, the drug poses a significant threat to those who come into contact with it inadvertently.
"Unfortunately, public restrooms seem to be a big issue for us," said Norton Police Detective Nick Precourt. "Users going in and using in the bathroom. We've had overdoses in bathrooms and cars in parking lots - it's everywhere."
Fentanyl overdoses are so dangerous, @24Restore is working with local police depts on how to safely respond. This is the airtight hazmat suit all technicians must wear at fentanyl overdoses. My story will air at 6:15 PM on @boston25 pic.twitter.com/yIST3Cznon— Stephanie Coueignoux (@StephanieCNews) February 19, 2018
The suit technicians wear when dealing with the drug needs to be airtight so there is absolutely no risk of exposure whatsoever.
The suit is also equipped with an oxygen tank that allows them to breathe inside the suit.
In the event they come into contact with a needle, those wearing the suit also need to wear bulletproof gloves that are made with Kevlar.
Technicians go through 24 hours of intense training, and always work in groups of three.
"The third person on the team actually stands back and monitors the other two and has Narcan in their hands while the other two are working," said Wiseman.
Behind the scenes with @boston25 and 24 Trauma CEO Mike Wiseman, discussing #Fentanyl response. Catch the full story tonight at 6:15PM #BTS #FentanylSafety #24services #24trauma pic.twitter.com/mIIZGXiFtg— 24 (@24Restore) February 19, 2018
According to 24 Trauma, they're now responding to three to four fentanyl overdoses a day - many in public places like grocery stores and fast food restaurants.
"It's the biggest epidemic I've ever seen, it's effecting everyone from all walks of life in every situation," said Wiseman.
The company, now with 14 technicians, is training 20 more people.
© 2018 Cox Media Group.