It’s a drug that can’t be handled by bare hands – instead, deputies wearing what look like moon-suits went in to clear a crime scene, after one of their own suffered an accidental overdose.
The powder substance was likely fentanyl, a narcotic substance up to 100 times more powerful than morphine. Stafford Deputy A.C. Wolford was one of the law enforcement officials on the scene of a school parking lot Wednesday, after two people were arrested on suspicion of drug use.
When Wolford went to the hospital to question one of the suspects, nurses feared the deputy himself was experiencing an overdose.
“When he happened to be at the hospital, he had the evidence of that incident in his vehicle,” said Stafford Master Detective Todd Nosal in an interview Friday. “And he became exposed to it accidentally, we believe through inhalation. And that cause him to show signs of overdose.”
Doctors administered an overdose antidote, saving Wolford’s life. Officials stressed that close proximity to someone who has ingested or inhaled fentanyl presents little danger. But direct exposure to the grains or liquid form of the drug itself could prove to be fatal.
“It’s a problem if some surface is contaminated by the drug,” Nosal said. “Contact with skin especially, since fentanyl can be absorbed that way as well.”
The suspects at the center of the case, David Michael Chambers, 40, of Occoquan, Va. and Samantha Stoudt, 29, of Woodbridge, Va. are both incarcerated at the Rappahannock Regional Jail without bond.
Deputy Wolford is recovering at home and is expected to return to work in the next few days.