TAVARES, Fla. - A Tavares police officer is hoping to get back to work Thursday night after coming in contact with fentanyl. The officer spoke for the first time since asking for the release of the body camera video. She told FOX 35 News that the backlash she has received from the video has been difficult, but she hopes that it can save someone’s life.
"I kept thinking like I’m fading and I’m fading fast," said Officer Courtney Bannick.
Officer Bannick says she doesn’t remember passing out after coming in contact with fentanyl during a routine traffic stop. She doesn’t remember being pulled from sitting on the sidewalk and the three doses of Narcan needed to reverse the effects of an overdose.
"Watching myself lifeless on camera. The people who we save don’t get to go back and watch this and it’s an eye-opener," said Bannick. She was the one who asked for the video’s release.
"I’ve searched cars by myself. I’ve searched people by myself. I’ve tested narcotics by myself. If I was by myself that day I wouldn’t have gotten the help that I did," said Bannick.
Bannick said she had been searching for the car and suspects for an hour. She isn’t sure exactly how the fentanyl got into her system that day, but doctors confirmed to her, it did.
Even so, there are many who don’t believe Bannick’s story. They point to studies done by the American College of Medical Toxicology that say incidental contact with the drug is not enough to cause an overdose.
"To the comments and everything like that, Narcan only works to reverse opiate overdoses. It does not work to get you out of anxiety attacks. To get you out of a panic attacks," said Bannick. "What we tested in 2019, what we tested in 2020, what we tested months ago cannot be what we’re testing today and what we have on the road today. We don’t know how strong these are until it’s already happened."
Bannick credits her fellow officers and Narcan for saving her life. She hopes what she went through is a reminder to others to always be careful.
"Before this, I thought it could never be me. I’ve handled fentanyl many times before. I never thought I’m going to overdose," said Bannick. "It doesn’t discriminate. It can take out anybody."