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Deployment of fentanyl reversal kit likely saved deputy's life, sheriff says
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Deployment of fentanyl reversal kit likely saved deputy's life, sheriff says

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YORK — A York County deputy deployed a Narcan kit — which quickly reverses the effects of opioid emergencies — and likely saved the life of a fellow law officer during a traffic stop.

Two Seward County deputies pulled over a car on Interstate 80 near the Utica exit at 4:30 a.m. on Feb. 23. There were four males in the car and one, who was a juvenile, resisted arrest, said York County Sheriff Paul Vrbka.

“A scuffle ensued between the Seward County deputies, and the people inside the vehicle, and the deputies called York County for assistance.”

During the scuffle, one of the Seward County deputies was exposed to white powder in a packet. Vrbka said he didn’t know if the juvenile intentionally exposed the deputy.

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“The Seward County deputy indicated that he suddenly felt sick. He felt like he had a fever, was hot and cold. He was very nauseous. He had a weird tingling in his hands; it hit him really, really quick,” Vrbka said. "His condition quickly was deteriorating.”

York County Deputy Taylor Samek treated the Seward County deputy with a dose of Narcan because he suspected the powder could be fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a deadly opioid that can quickly kill a person if they are exposed — either by breathing it in or even just having it touch their skin.

Narcan is a nasal spray that works as a narcotic blocker to quickly reverse the effects of opioid overdoses and narcotic emergencies. 

“This likely saved the deputy’s life,” Vrbka said. “The deputy recovered. And the powder was later tested — sure enough, it came back positive as fentanyl."

The deputy was treated and released from a hospital.

“If Deputy Samek had not quickly responded with the Narcan, it is likely that the deputy would have died,” the sheriff said.

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The juvenile who allegedly had the fentanyl faces charges of assault of an officer. The driver was arrested for driving under the influence, according to Vrbka.

“The Narcan kits have proved how valuable they are in saving lives,” the sheriff said. “We are just so glad Deputy Samek recognized this was likely a fentanyl exposure and then acted so quickly. Otherwise, again, this could have been a tragic situation.”

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