Joyce Introduces Bill to Protect Police, First Responders from Secondary Exposure to Fentanyl, Other Lethal Substances

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) introduced the Protecting First Responders from Secondary Exposure Act alongside Congressman David Trone (MD-06). This bipartisan legislation aims to enhance the ability of state and local governments tonot only purchase containment devices for use by first responders and police officers, but also to provide trainings on how to use them. Containment devices help prevent exposure to fentanyl, lethal powders, and unknown chemical substances seized or otherwise encountered by law enforcement officers and first responders while on the job. Currently, there are no federal programs that provide funding to state and local governments specifically for the purchase of containment devices. 

“Over the years, there have been far too many instances of police officers and first responders being exposed to lethal substances such as fentanyl while responding to calls,” said Rep. Joyce. “That’s unacceptable. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan bill to assist state and local governments with purchasing containment devices to protect first responders and police officers from secondary exposure. It is critical that those serving on the front lines in our communities have the equipment and training necessary to safely do their jobs.”

“We must ensure that members of law enforcement have access to proper safety equipment so that they can effectively protect themselves and the citizens they serve,” said Rep. Trone. “That’s why I’m proud to cosponsor legislation that will ensure all first responders have access to containment devices to shield them from toxic substances like fentanyl or anthrax. It is our job to protect those who sacrifice so much to keep our communities safe.”

First responders and law enforcement officers are at risk of exposure to illicit drugs through inhalation, ingestion, skin contact, contact with needles, or mucous membrane contact via the nose, eyes and mouth. Instances where first responders and police have been exposed to dangerous substances have occurred across the country in states such as OhioMarylandCaliforniaIdahoVirginia, and more. Containment devices will not only help protect local heroes from exposure to fentanyl, anthrax, and other dangerous substances, but also better preserve chemical substances for forensic analysis and improve the efficacy of investigations.

Specifically, the Protecting First Responders from Secondary Exposure Act would amend the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to include the following language: “Providing training and resources for first responders on the use of containment devices to prevent secondary exposure to fentanyl and other potentially lethal substances and purchasing such containment devices for use by first responders.” By doing so, Joyce’s legislation will ensure that the purchase of containment devices and trainings on how to use them are both designated as eligible purchases under the Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant and Substance Abuse Program.

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