The drug fentanyl was being transported by the Duluth Police Department from the Georgia Bureau of Investigations Crime Labs in DeKalb County when it came out of its packaging.
According to Ted Sadowski with the Duluth Police Department, the drug spilled in the vehicle when it was being driven the 22 miles between the two buildings. The two officers in the vehicle were exposed.
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"When they arrived at the police department to unload, they found out that some of that had spilled in the back," he said.
PHOTOS | Fentanyl spilled at police department, hazmat on scene
"I’m not sure how long they were actually exposed to it....I’m not sure how it was packaged."
The two officers were disinfected at the scene. The area of the parking lot where the spill happened was roped off and quarantined during the clean up.
He said both officers had to take their clothes off and be sprayed down by CSI. One of them were temporarily quarantined.
The amount of fentanyl that was spilled is unknown but Sadowski estimated it could be about a gallon or more of the substance.
According to Duluth Police, it is a very common practice for the GBI Crime Labs to store narcotics that were seized in busts at the Duluth Police station until it is needed or can be transported.
"Our CSI unit does a great job their procedure and how they transport it. Obviously some way it opened. I don’t know if it was packaged it a different way at GBI or we packaged it incorrectly. I don’t know. It could have been packaged correctly and maybe the force of the fall made it open," Sadowski said.
WHAT IS FENTANYL?
Fentanyl has been in the news lately because it's an ingredient in deadly street drugs that can be deadly on contact. The GBI has warned law enforcement agencies to take caution when responding to overdoses because the drug cocktail can be so potent.
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Fentanyl is pain killer that’s about 100 times more potent than morphine, Hoyt said. It’s often used as a pain reliever during surgery or for terminally ill patients.
In its powder form one milligram -- a grain about the size of a single piece of sea salt -- is enough to cause an overdose.