Editor's Note: NBC 7 is aware that this video produced and released by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department is raising questions. NBC News reports that experts are expressing doubt about the scenario. NBC 7 San Diego is reaching out to the SDSO for more information about the video on Aug. 9, 2021. You can watch our follow-up report here.
In an effort to raise awareness about the dangers of fentanyl, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department released body camera footage of an incident involving a deputy whom officials said became exposed to fentanyl while on the job.
On July 3, deputy David Faiivae from the San Marcos Sheriff's Station was exposed to fentanyl while processing drugs at the scene of an arrest, according to the sheriff's department.
"He found a white substance that he suspected was drugs," said SDSO Field Training Officer, Corporal Scott Crane in the public safety video. "I was like, 'Hey dude, too close. You can't get that close to it.' And a couple of seconds later he took some steps back and he collapsed."
Body camera footage released by the SDSO shows the moment Faiivae collapsed to the floor. Crane then quickly checks on him and sees that he has overdosed and runs to his car to get Narcan and administered the nasal spray to Faiivae.
"I remember just not feeling right in that fallback. And I don't remember anything after that," Faiivae said in the video.
Crane tried to then get Faiivae to breathe.
"It was in an instant. My lungs locked up. I couldn't breathe. I was trying to gasp for a breath but I couldn't breathe at all," Faiivae said in the public safety video.
After that, more officers arrived at the scene and were able to administer more Narcan.
"It's an invisible killer. He would've died in that parking lot if he was alone," Crane said in the public safety video.
The body camera video then shows the fire department arriving at the scene and taking Faiivae to a local hospital where Crane said Faiivae started overdosing again.
In 2014, the SDSO became the first law enforcement agency in California and the Western United States to allow all deputies to carry Naloxone.
"Fentanyl overdoses are on the rise throughout our county," said Sheriff Bill Gore in the public safety video. "Every day, deputies recover fentanyl in our communities and the county jails are not immune to the dangers of this drug."
Deputies working in county jails also carry Naloxone in the event someone in custody is experiencing an overdose.
According to the CDC, in 2019, more than 36,000 deaths involving synthetic opioids (other than methadone) occurred in the United States, which is more deaths than from any other type of opioid.
Gore said fentanyl deaths in California have increased almost 46% in the last year.
Anyone struggling with substance abuse or trying to help a loved one coping with addiction can call the McAlister Institute at (619) 442‐0277 or (619) 987‐6393. Counselors are available 24 hours a day on the County's Crisis Hotline at (888) 724‐7240.