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CINCINNATI (AP) – Police officers in Ohio are changing the way they handle drugs after several officers had to be hospitalized because of suspected fentanyl exposure.

Newtown Police Chief Tom Synan tells WKRC-TV his officers no longer process drugs because of the dangers presented by fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid often mixed with heroin and sometimes sold and used on its own.

Synan says his officers won’t field test drugs they’ve seized or open packages.

His decision comes after Cincinnati police officers and probation officers were hospitalized after being exposed to suspected fentanyl.

Synan is a member of the Hamilton County Heroin Coalition. He says his officers wear protective equipment and carry the overdose reversal drug naloxone.

He says the Hamilton County Coroner has identified through testing 10 variations of fentanyl.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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