A Portland police officer was taken to the hospital after being exposed to fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, while searching a car Monday night, police said.

The officer, who was not identified, was questioning Colby Pidgeon, 22, of Cape Neddick after spotting Pidgeon sitting in a parked car at Federal and India streets and behaving suspiciously, Lt. Robert Martin said in a news release.

Pidgeon was free on bail and his release conditions allowed police to search him or his vehicle.

While going through Pidgeon’s car, the officer pulled a napkin from a door pocket, police said. Some powder that was in the napkin blew into the face of the officer, who soon began to feel ill and called an ambulance. A police supervisor administered Narcan, a drug that counteracts an opioid overdose, and the officer was taken to Maine Medical Center. He was released from the hospital later Monday night and has returned to duty, police said.

Pidgeon was charged with unlawful possession of a drug and violating conditions of his release. He was being held without bail at the Cumberland County Jail.


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