SAN FRANCISCO—A car accident at the Golden Gate Bridge (GGB) led to a possible chemical exposure of the opioid drug fentanyl, and landed four California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers in the hospital along with a GGB Patrol Officer and a tow truck driver. According to a statement from the CHP Marin via social media, all of them have been released since the accident on Sunday, September 13. The driver, who has not yet been identified, still remains hospitalized.
The accident transpired before noon, when officers responded to a 911 call about a reckless driver north of the bridge toll plaza. When two CHP Marin officers and a GGB officer arrived to the scene, they reportedly found the vehicle had crashed on an off ramp at Alexander Avenue in Marin County.
The driver was reportedly unresponsive when the officers arrived. It wasn’t too long after officers found a white powdered substance in the car. Then, people who responded to the scene became ill and displayed symptoms of fentanyl exposure. Some of those symptoms include euphoria, nausea, lightheaded sensation, small pupils, shallow breathing and passing out. According to the DEA, the onset of adverse health effects such as disorientation, coughing, sedation, respiratory distress or cardiac arrest is very rapid and profound, usually occurring within minutes of exposure.
According to ABC7 news, the CHP, Marin County Fire, Marin County Sheriff’s Office and Marin HAZMAT team all responded to the scene to clean up the vehicle. The on and off ramps at Alexander Avenue are now open.
Fentanyl is a notorious killer amongst most communities. According to the CDC, over 31,000 people died from fentanyl overdoses in 2018. The lethal opioid is known for how deadly it is even in small amounts. A 2 milligram dose of fentanyl is enough to kill an adult.
In the past the DEA ha, expressed concern for first responders, law enforcement and public workers who come into contact with the deadly drug in its many forms. Fentanyl can be absorbed through the skin or accidentally inhaled.