Senators propose bill to protect cops from accidental overdoses - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Senators propose bill to protect cops from accidental overdoses

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WASHINGTON -

Ever since an East Liverpool Police officer needed a dose of Narcan last year after accidentally coming in contact with a powerful opiate, police and fire departments, as well as other first responders have been taking extra measures to protect themselves from overdoses.

Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown is introducing a bill cosponsored by Senator Rob Portman that is designed to help Ohio law enforcement officers detect fentanyl and protect themselves from accidental overdoses.

If passed into law, police would have access to the same screening equipment Customs and Border Protection agents use to stop fentanyl at the border.

The Providing Officers with Electronic Resources, or POWER Act, gives Ohio law enforcement officers access to those high-tech screening devices.

The POWER Act would establish a new grant program through the U.S. Department of Justice to help state and local law enforcement organizations obtain high tech, portable screening devices which detect dangerous drugs and help protect officers from overexposure to deadly opioids like fentanyl.

These devices are already widely used by federal law enforcement to identify dangerous drugs at U.S. ports of entry.

The devices could also help address the backlog of drugs awaiting laboratory identification which will allow law enforcement to more effectively conduct drug investigations and prosecutions, according to Sen. Brown.

The POWER Act is supported by a number of law enforcement organizations.

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