Missouri Police Officer Fired After Overdosing on Fentanyl

A police officer in Missouri has been fired after he overdosed on fentanyl thinking it was cocaine, according to reports.

The officer, who has not been named, was found on the morning of Sunday, August 2 in a car with another overdose victim by officials from the St. Charles County police and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

He was later identified as being an officer from the Bellefontaine Neighbors police department. The department originally said the officer was being placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. In an update, the force confirmed that the officer is no longer employed by the police department.

"The police officer with this department that was allegedly involved in inappropriate activity while in the City of St. Charles is no longer employed by the City of Bellefontaine Neighbors Police Department," Bellefontaine Neighbors Police Chief Jeremy Ihler said in a statement to Fox 2 Now.

Court records state that one of the overdose victims believed they were buying cocaine from a man in the parking lot of Ameristar Casino, but it was actually the powerful synthetic opioid.

While developed for pain management, fentanyl can also be used recreationally as a heroin-like substance. Fentanyl has been linked to a wave of overdose deaths in the U.S. as users are unaware they are taking the drug which can be 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine.

Speaking to Fox 2 Now, DEA Special Agent in Charge William J. Callahan III said the coronavirus pandemic has restricted the flow of drugs from Mexico into the Midwest, meaning more and more dealers are cutting drugs such as meth, heroin, or cocaine with fentanyl.

"Because of the supply chain disruption where meth might not be as available, may not be as cheap, may not be a potent, dealers—unbeknownst to the user—are putting fentanyl in those drugs," Callahan said.

Callahan added fentanyl is less impacted by the reduction of the supply chain because it is so powerful that only small quantities are required.

"It just takes a very small amount of fentanyl to make an impact, while you need more product of heroin or meth or cocaine to make that impact," Callahan said.

A man has been arrested on suspicion of dealing the drugs that the officer and the second male overdosed on.

According to a federal affidavit, suspect Ledra Craig admitting selling fentanyl and "the substance was actually 'fake.'"

Bellefontaine Neighbors police have been contacted for further comment.

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A photograph of heroin and fentanyl during a news conference the U.S. Capitol March 22, 2018 in Washington, D.C. A police officer in Missouri has been fired after he overdosed on fentanyl thinking it was cocaine. Chip Somodevilla/Getty