Two Los Angeles police officers and a supervisor were hospitalized after they were exposed to fentanyl while making an arrest in North Hollywood, authorities said Friday.
The officers were responding to a call about a person brandishing a weapon near the intersection of Lankershim Boulevard and Hesby Street in the North Hollywood arts district about 11 a.m. Friday, according to a department spokesperson.
The person was taken into custody without incident, but as the officers were searching the person’s car, they came across an open container of fentanyl, police said.
Two officers and a supervisor from the North Hollywood division were taken to an area hospital “as a precaution,” a department spokesman said. No one else was injured during the incident, and the suspect’s identity was not immediately released.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is about 50 times stronger than heroin. The substance is often mixed with other opioids to produce a stronger high. Last year, health officials and law enforcement warned that fentanyl was starting to show up in cocaine and methamphetamines as well.
Experts say the substance can be lethal, even in small doses. The number of fentanyl-related deaths in California tripled between 2016 and 2017, according to the state health department.