SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Springfield Police are responding to more calls related to Fentanyl.

SPD said they’ve responded to nearly 50 calls for Fentanyl-related overdoses in 2022.

“I know that over the years it is we’ve seen more cases or suspected overdoses involving this type of drug,” Lt. Steve Schwind said. “Obviously it’s a concern for public safety.”

The DEA said Fentanyl is up to 100 times more potent than morphine. Starting this year, officers with SPD began carrying NARCAN if they need to help anyone overdosing.

They’ve administered over 100 doses of the live-saving drug so far this year.

Police also use special nitrile gloves when handling any drug suspected to be Fentanyl. Officers say the substance can be absorbed into their skin.

“We don’t know what we are dealing with, it’s very potent, it’s dangerous and it can lead to death,” Schwind said. “So the unknown is what we have to treat anything as suspect of fentanyl that we need to protect ourselves so we don’t get exposed and, you know, obviously have any of those effects from it.”

Officers know it’s important to take precautions not just for themselves, but the people they’re saving.

CoxHealth’s Dr. Bryan Finke says when patients with Fentanyl exposures come to them, they have to take extra steps too.

“We have de-con areas in the E.R. where we can come in and we remove the patient’s clothes, we use water and soap and decontaminate the patient’s skin.” Dr. Finke said. “And then we also have barriers that were placed on ourselves with known overdoses like this.”

Doctors like Finke are taking note of who this drug is affecting more.

“We are definitely noticing mid teenagers.14- or 15-year-old teenagers are using these substances much more often. Because of it’s a wide availability, ” Finke said.