Police & Fire

Some officers see on-site drug testing as major risk

A proposal by the Presque Isle police chief, urging cops to field test potentially lethal drugs with a chemical pouch, has stirred debate inside the department, after two high-ranking officers cited safety concerns over the widely discouraged practice.

Chief Matt Irwin informed the city’s 18-person department in an email sent late last month that officers should return to the department’s former practice of using “presumptive drug test pouches” to determine whether substances they seize during an arrest are, in fact, illegal drugs.

Following other Maine and national law enforcement agencies, Presque Isle police stopped using the pouches — in which officers mix suspected drugs with color-changing chemicals — because of the rise of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that can cause someone to overdose if the powder is inhaled or comes into contact with the skin.

To read the rest of “Some officers see on-site drug testing as major risk,” an article by contributing Bangor Daily News staff writer Callie Ferguson, please follow this link to the BDN online.

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