CINCINNATI — A Cincinnati police union leader says people who heavily misuse opioids endanger officers and should be forced into treatment.

Sgt. Dan Hils made a statement after a Cincinnati officer searching a suspect was exposed to an unknown, powdery substance that sickened him. The substance was likely fentanyl or another synthetic opioid more potent than heroin.

Hils said the officer was taken to a hospital Monday and will recover, but it was the third such case involving a Cincinnati officer in two months.

One officer was hospitalized in May after he came into contact with an unknown substance during a traffic stop. The officer reported feeling sick and light-headed. Two officers were treated in August after being exposed to drugs just hours apart.

“We don’t know what this stuff gets cut with, but it’s all over on our streets,” Hils said.

The Fraternal Order of Police local leader said officers face “extreme danger” from the opioid crisis as they deal with potent drugs and unpredictable users who can turn violent.

He argued authorities should have greater ability to force people into treatment programs when they’re harming themselves or endangering others. The state’s prisons and jails just don’t have enough space, according to Hils.

“We are caught in a Catch-22, between a rock and a hard place,” he said. “Our people are being put in extreme danger because of this crisis.”


This story has been changed to reflect AP style preference on use of the word “addicts.”