Federal agencies roll out video for handling potent opioid fentanyl for first responders

PHOTO: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein speaks during a news conference at the Department of Justice on July 13, 2018.PlayEvan Vucci/AP
WATCH Trump lays out plan to combat opioid crisis

A number of U.S. federal agencies have come together to create a video that helps teach first responders what to do if they are exposed to the drug fentanyl in an emergency.

The video, titled "Fentanyl: The Real Deal", was a collaboration between the Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Health and other agencies.

The video opens with a woman, her eyes closed and a 911 operator's voice on the other line. It could be described as an all-too-familiar scene.

"It is important for us to educate everyone about practices you should follow to minimize the risks of contact with fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, and to avoid serious health risks in the event of an incidental exposure," Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told law enforcement and first responders in the audience.

Rosenstein touted that the attorney general charged prosecutors with returning to "the traditional policy of charging drug traffickers for the most serious readily-provable crimes they commit, unless an exception is justified."

He then said he met with President Trump and counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway about the issue of opioids on Wednesday at the White House.

Rosenstein told the story about how when he was in a hotel lobby in Chicago, members of his detail helped a woman who had overdosed.

"The officer who performed CPR on that unconscious stranger was checked at the hospital emergency room, and thankfully received a clean bill of health," he said.

Rosenstein is protected by the U.S. Marshals.

The video and corresponding guide shows how first responders can protect themselves from fentanyl exposure, what to do if a first responder is exposed to fentayl and if their partner shows signs of exposure.

At the event, former first responder during "9-11" and Bureau of Justice Assistance Office of Justice Programs Director Jon Adler called the effort "inspiring."

The guidance offered by agencies says that fentanyl can come in many forms, such as pills and powder. If a first responder inhales the powder form, they are "most likely" to notice, as opposed to if it touches their skin.

Wearing gloves, avoiding powder and wearing eye protection all help reduce the harmful effects when a first responder is in the presence of the drug.

If for some reason they are exposed, the agencies say not to touch your face, not to use hand sanitizer and to wash your hands.

The Department of Justice under Attorney General Jeff Sessions has cracked down on fentanyl dealers, just recently he announced that they charged a couple selling fentanyl on the dark web in Ohio.