First responders hospitalized after Fentanyl exposure

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A Chester County Investigator and a West Tennessee Healthcare EMT were hospitalized recently after being exposed to the deadly drug Fentanyl.

Emergency personnel go through rigorous training in preparation for such a situation, but hoping it will never come. But, come it did, and according to one wife, it was a “nightmare in real life.”

Last Friday afternoon, Oct. 4, the Chester County Sheriff’s Department arrested Samantha Bennett, 28, at her home at 295 Ollie Lane in Henderson, as a result of an ongoing investigation.

According to CC Chief Deputy Mark Griffin, Bennett was found to be in possession of three ounces of what appeared to be marijuana in addition to a little more than ten grams of a substance suspected to be Heroin. Griffin said the substance field-tested positive for Heroin, but minutes later a CC Narcotics Investigator began having symptoms associated with an opioid drug overdose. Suspecting Fentanyl exposure, Griffin administered the life-saving Narcan. The investigator was transported by ambulance to Jackson Madison General Hospital, where he was later released. En route to the hospital, a Medical Center EMS paramedic suffered exposure to the Fentanyl, and the investigator was able to administer Narcan for the paramedic. Griffin described the whole experience as surreal but credited extensive Fentanyl training on the part each participant for the first responders being able to respond so quickly and effectively.

While this is the first known/recovered incident of Fentanyl in Chester County, emergency personnel train just the same. And, while it is the first known/recovered incident of Fentanyl, Griffin said the drug has been documented in neighboring cities and as is the trend of ôdesignerö drugs, is beginning to move into more rural areas. It would be hopeful to think it is the last Chester County has seen of the synthetic opioid, but not realistic. Additionally, Heroin is not as prevalent in rural areas such as Chester County but is present.

The wives of the two Hometown Heroes agreed that it was not entirely unexpected but among the most feared of news.

“It is something that I knew happened, but not in Henderson. But unfortunately, we are not exempt from the bad things in the world. I can tell you as a wife, it’s the scariest experience I have ever encountered in his 30-plus years,ö said one. ôThe big thing for sure is that God definitely was with both of them.”

“It just amazes me that people want to actually ædoÆ drugs,” added the other wife, “especially with the inconsistent amount of Fentanyl mixed with these drugs no one knows exactly what theyÆre taking. They are playing Russian roulette with their lives, only for the high or money, with no concern for themselves or obviously anyone else, and (our husbands) were exposed, and that almost went fatally wrong.”

This photo, which has been circulating on Social Media, identifies the seized drug, Fentanyl, which caused the deadly reaction. In this form, the Fentanyl was combined with Heroin, and described as wet, oily, or a gooey consistency.” Griffin said it is important to remember that while this is what it looked like in this specific case, like many drugs, Fentanyl comes in different forms. For instance, in powder form, exposure to just a few grains, a microscopic dose, can be fatal.

Griffin advises, “If you locate an unknown substance, treat it with extreme caution and notify authorities to have it safely removed.”

Samantha Bennett was charged with possession of the drugs Fentanyl, Heroin and Marijuana, and the manufacture/delivery/sale of a schedule IV controlled substance. She is currently being held in the Chester County Jail on a one million dollar bond.

Bennett is scheduled to appear in General Sessions Court at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, at the Chester County Criminal Justice Center.