John Oliver took a deep dive into harm reduction strategies to prevent overdose deaths among drug users and more specifically, why so many parts of the nation havenâ€™t embraced them.
Itâ€™s partly due to myths and misconceptions about both drugs and drug users, including the belief that even being near fentanyl is dangerous for police and other first responders.
On Sundayâ€™s â€œLast Week Tonight,â€ Oliver played footage of a San Diego deputy supposedly passing out after finding the drug in a car, along with a sheriffâ€™s department voiceover claiming he â€œnearly diedâ€ as a result.
â€œThe idea that that officer couldâ€™ve been passively exposed to fentanyl and then overdose is completely absurd,â€ Oliver said, pointing out that experts say itâ€™s virtually impossible for it to have that effect.
Oliver said police departments across the country have made similar claims.
â€œWhat those officers were much more likely experiencing were panic attacks,â€ Oliver said. â€œWhich makes sense because theyâ€™d just been exposed to something theyâ€™ve repeatedly heard is deadly to be anywhere near.â€
Itâ€™s even become a trope in TV shows, including the hit CBS cop program â€œBlue Bloods.â€
â€œThat is complete horse shit,â€ Oliver declared.
â€œIt is deeply irresponsible of police to keep perpetuating a medical impossibility and for media outlets to keep amplifying it,â€ he added.
Doing so will cause people to fear helping those in need, he pointed out. And they will oppose other measures, including harm-reduction strategies.
Watch the full segment on â€œLast Week Tonightâ€ here: