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Kentucky firefighter exposed to fentanyl after saving overdose patient's life

Officials said after reviving an opioid overdose patient, a firefighter began showing symptoms of exposure to the deadly drug.

SPENCER COUNTY, Ky. — A Spencer County firefighter is out of the hospital after being exposed to fentanyl while saving the life of an opioid overdose patient.

Officials with the Taylorsville-Spencer County Fire Protection District said firefighters were recently assisting emergency responders on a medical call.

Once on scene, the firefighters found a person showing signs of an opioid overdose caused by fentanyl and began to treat the patient by using Naloxone, also known as Narcan. 

The patient was revived and taken to the hospital by EMS, however, one of the department's firefighters soon began to show symptoms of exposure to the deadly drug.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid first manufactured in the early 1960s and is 100 times more potent than morphine, according to officials. Because of its extreme potency, even a small amount can be fatal.

The department said the firefighter "most likely inhaled the opioid" while treating the patient, adding "inhalation of airborne particles can be fatal."

The firefighter was treated by their colleagues and transported to the hospital by EMS. Officials said they have since been released from the hospital.

"We're thankful that the patient and all first responders are safe from the incident," the department said on social media. "This, however, highlights some of the dangers of our occupation you might not often think about."

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