Hazmat called to home after man dies of fentanyl overdose


A police officer stands nearby as a Hazmat team makes sure it’s safe to investigate a home where a man overdosed on fentanyl Thursday.
(Photo: OnSceneTV)

SAN DIEGO — A Hazmat team was called and a firefighter was sent to the hospital after a man died of a fentanyl overdose at a northern San Diego home Thursday morning.

The 27-year-old man overdosed at the house in Rancho Bernardo, a few blocks north of Rancho Bernardo Road on Calenda Road, around 4 a.m.

When authorities found fentanyl, a synthetic opioid the DEA says is 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine, they called a Hazmat team.

Authorities were seen leading a woman out of the home in handcuffs, though police did not comment on whether she was suspected of a crime. While police spoke with the woman and officials wheeled the man’s body out of the home, the Hazmat team worked to ensure no one else was exposed to the drug.

“A lethal dose of fentanyl is estimated to be about two milligrams, but can vary based on an individual’s body size, tolerance, amount of previous usage and other factors,” a DEA spokesperson explained. “Fentanyl can be especially dangerous for first responders.”

Even incidental contact with the powder can pose a serious health risk, officials said. One firefighter who was exposed to the drug Thursday was taken to the hospital as a precaution and released a short time later. Two other people who had been inside the home were also briefly hospitalized for toxicity testing, San Diego Fire-Rescue said.

Fentanyl is often unknowingly ingested with other drugs, such as heroin, methamphetamine or counterfeit prescription pills. In recent years, federal authorities have started targeting distributors responsible for providing the fentanyl that led to overdose deaths.

“DEA will conduct a thorough investigation into the source of the suspected fentanyl,” the spokesperson said. “Our goal is to trace the fentanyl back to the source of supply and bring that person to justice.”

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