MARLIN, Texas – A vehicle search turned into a health battle for a Marlin police officer when he was exposed to an unknown drug believed to be Fentanyl.
Officer Ronald Branch was patrolling the 400 block of Gift Street early Tuesday morning – when he noticed two people passed out inside a car. The smell of marijuana coming from the car prompted Branch to search it.
This is when Branch found a clear bag which appeared to have meth inside – but what happened next makes officers believe it was Fentanyl.
“Officer Branch was sweating. And he evidently either wiped his forehead with his glove, but he thought he’d wiped it with his arm,” says Marlin Police Chief James Hommel. “About four or five minutes later, he started sweating real bad, having difficulty breathing, and his heart rate accelerated.”
Officer Branch passed out, and his partners on the scene – Officer Mike Janzig and David Jaime – stepped in to help.
“Officer Janzig had a Narcan kit, and he administered the Narcan kit. He started asking for assistance on the radio,” Hommel said. “The Sheriff’s Department Officer Godley came to the scene. Officer Godley then transported Officer Branch to the hospital.”
Texas Poison Center Network Medical Director Dr. Ryan Morrissey says Fentanyl has been a hot topic lately, and reversal agents are the best tactic to fight the drug when it enters a person’s system.
“A Narcan is a different shape key that still fits. That blocks the morphine from getting there. Blocks the Fentanyl from getting in there. So, it’s a key blocker,” Morrissey said. “It’s not so much getting rid of the thing that’s causing trouble, so much as preventing it from getting to where it does its thing.”
Dr. Morrissey says the type of reversal agent is different depending on the type of drug the person was exposed to. He says the side effects Branch experienced matches a tweaked version of amphetamine.
Chief Hommel says the drug was sent to the lab for testing, “I talked to him again yesterday evening, about 6:00, and he says he is feeling back to normal.”