Now, a news story that only a left-wing outlet would write: Tax-funded National Public Radio’s flagship news program All Things Considered dove deep to dismiss police concerns over their personal safety in a May 16 segment by “addiction correspondent” Brian Mann: “Cops say they're being poisoned by fentanyl. Experts say the risk is ‘extremely low.”
Mann strove mightily to prove cops wrong via “experts.” The URL above even refers to fentanyl concerns by cops as “misinformation,” which in liberal circles is the ultimate sin.
The text version of Mann’s radio report began with an anecdote about a Florida police officer’s scary personal experience:
Last December, Officer Courtney Bannick was on the job for the Tavares, Florida, police department when she came into contact with a powder she believed was street fentanyl.
The footage from another officer's body camera shows Bannick appearing to lose consciousness before being lowered to the ground by other cops.
But don’t worry, “many experts” think that they are merely experiencing anxiety or panic attacks, not fentanyl exposure. And the rather bold statement from the doctors that this has “never happened” could well be accurate. Fentanyl may not be a health hazard if encountered via skin contact or accidental inhalation -- there have been no confirmed cases of a police officer being harmed by the deadly drug in that way.
Still, the easy dismissal of the concerns of police officers under distress is striking, particularly coming from NPR, where the precautionary principle is always turned up to 11, where even legislative debate of trans issues is the equivalent of “erasure” and could even lead to teen suicide. The Republicans making Hunter Biden an issue in 2020? Brian Mann said that was harmful -- it would build stigma would lead to less addicts getting treatment.
NPR is still encouraging people in 2023 to mask up “forever” against the now-minor threat of Covid, to avoid inhaling aerosol particles that carry the COVID virus. But cops’ concerns about inhaling deadly fentanyl are treated with a hard cynicism that approaches mockery.
"This has never happened," said Dr. Ryan Marino, a toxicologist and emergency room physician who studies addiction at Case Western Reserve University. "There has never been an overdose through skin contact or accidentally inhaling fentanyl."
NPR even tried to dive into a police officer’s medical records (she refused):
NPR reached out to the Tavares Florida police department and Officer Bannick asking for toxicology reports or other information confirming she was affected by fentanyl. They declined to make that medical information public.
We also contacted numerous other law enforcement and government agencies, as well as researchers around the U.S.
We couldn't find a single case of a police officer who reported being poisoned by fentanyl or overdosing after encountering the street drug that was confirmed by toxicology reports.
Mann casually mentioned that the CDC, considered the height of scientific expertise during the Covid emergency, also suggests caution, including PPE (personal protection equipment) like masks. (Sound familiar?)
But Marino, the toxicologist and emergency room physician at Case Western Reserve University, believes exaggerated fears of fentanyl make it harder for police to do their jobs protecting the public.
Suddenly NPR finds it important for cops to do their jobs when it may save lives of drug overdose victims, though NPR’s previous reporting is not exactly pro law and order: See the sympathetic interviews with the authors of In Defense of Looting and The End of Policing, both featured on NPR's race-based show Code Switch.