A Florida police officer recently received three doses of Narcan after being exposed to fentanyl and suffering an overdose during a traffic stop.
Tavares Police Department Officer Courtney Bannick said she pulled a vehicle over just after midnight on December 13 when she discovered “narcotics and paraphernalia” in the car.
Bannick noticed a suspicious-looking dollar bill on the vehicle’s passenger side and unrolled it before realizing there was fentanyl inside.
“I noticed a white powdery substance. I’ve dealt with fentanyl many times before, so I believe that’s what it was. And I wrapped it back up, put it in there. We kind of sealed it away and went from there,” she recalled to Fox News after the incident.
After taking the suspects into custody, Bannick radioed in to dispatch before taking them to Lake County Jail. Dispatchers immediately noticed something was wrong as she began to lose consciousness and have trouble breathing.
“I felt like I was choking,” Bannick remembered. “After watching the bodycam, now I hear myself, I was choking, but I remember consciously being aware I didn’t think I was overdosing.”
A fellow cop on the scene also noted that Bannick “sounded different” and appeared to be choking. Seconds later, she was totally unresponsive.
“She was completely lifeless. She looks deceased in these videos,” Tavares Police Detective Courtney Sullivan said after viewing the body-cam footage of the incident.
A Tavares officer and an Astatula police officer at the scene quickly realized Bannick was suffering from an overdose and removed her from her vehicle to administer the opioid overdose reversal drug Narcan to the unconscious officer.
The scary footage showed Bannick lying on the side of the road in a state of paralysis. After the first Narcan dose, the officers helped Bannick to sit up, and she appeared to come to briefly before starting to lose consciousness a second time.
“C’mon, stay with me,” a colleague told the struggling Bannick.
Officers then administered two more doses of the drug. An ambulance arrived on the scene shortly afterward and transported Bannick to a hospital. She is expected to fully recover from the ordeal.
The responding officers believe Bannick was exposed to the fentanyl, which can be deadly in very small doses, when she was handling dollar bills used to roll the drug.
Although she was wearing gloves at the time, officers suspected that a gust of wind may have blown some of the powder into the air and subsequently into her lungs.
Bannick is thankful to her colleagues for saving her life.
“I have done this 100 times before the same way. It only takes one time and a minimal amount,” Bannick said. “I’m thankful I wasn’t alone and had immediate help.”
“If the other officers weren’t there, there’s a very high chance and probability that today would be different and that we would be wearing our thin blue line — the straps that go over our badges,” Sullivan added.
The individuals arrested for possession of the drugs could be charged with a felony in the case.