A Portland police officer was hospitalized Monday evening after fentanyl powder blew into his face during a search.
The officer, who was not identified, stopped 22-year-old Colby Pidgeon of Cape Neddick about 4 p.m. when he spotted Pidgeon in a parked vehicle at Federal and India streets and acting “suspiciously,” according to Portland police Lt. Robert Martin.
Pidgeon was out on bail under conditions that allowed the officer to search him and his vehicle, Martin said Tuesday evening.
During the search, the officer removed a napkin containing a powder from a door pocket and some of the powder blew into his face, Martin said. The officer, who began feeling sick, summoned an ambulance, and another officer administered the overdose antidote Narcan before the ambulance arrived, according to Martin.
The officer was taken to Maine Medical Center, where he was treated and released later that evening.
“We are fortunate that our officer wasn’t more seriously injured and has returned to duty,” Martin said.
The powder was tested and is believed to be fentanyl. The powerful synthetic opioid has been responsible for the rising number of fatal overdoses in Maine in recent years. Fentanyl was linked to 259 fatal overdoses in 2019, out of the 380 deaths recorded that year, according to a report released earlier this month by the Maine attorney general’s office.
Pidgeon was charged with unlawful possession of a schedule W drug and violation of conditions of release. He is being held without bail at the Cumberland County Jail.