HOUSTON (CN) – A Texas sheriff warned the public Tuesday about the dangers of fentanyl after a deputy removed a flyer from her car’s windshield, began to feel lightheaded and was hospitalized, and the opioid was found on another flyer in the area.
A new scourge for law enforcement, fentanyl is 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin, 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, and trace amounts can cause fatal overdoses, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
To increase the potency of heroin, dealers mix in small amounts of the white powder.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon that a sergeant found the flyer on her vehicle as she left work.
“She picked it up and didn’t think anything of it,” Gonzalez said. “But as she drove to her destination she began feeling a little bit lightheaded, and was having a few other symptoms. So she became concerned. That employee has since been taken to a hospital.”
She was discharged from the hospital around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, the sheriff’s office said.
Harris County sheriff’s deputies frequently seize fentanyl while making arrests, department spokesman Jason Spencer said.
“When our deputies know or suspect they might be encountering it, they have gloves, they have respiratory equipment, and they have Narcan,” Spencer told Courthouse News on Wednesday morning.
Narcan is a brand name for Naloxone, a fast-acting medication administered with a nasal spray that blocks the effects of opioids and can prevent fatal overdoses.
Police found the flyer on 11 or 12 vehicles parked on the street outside a sheriff’s office building in East Houston, an officer said at the news conference.
“We’re on high alert at this time because obviously, with this being a police facility, we don’t know if it was intended to target law enforcement or perhaps it was randomly placed here. … We wanted folks to be aware of how easily this deadly toxic opioid could be transferred. It could be on a simple flyer,” Gonzalez said.
Spencer said the sheriff’s department is checking surveillance footage to try to identify who left the flyers, which, according to the Houston Chronicle, publicized an obscure nonprofit called Targeted Justice.
Targeted Justice says on its website that it represents people who have been “selected by the Deep State (usually FBI or CIA) to unwillingly participate in a government torture, experimental program” whose goal is “to control the entire global population.”
The group did not immediately respond Wednesday to an email seeking comment on the flyers.