Local law enforcement and Carroll's Department of Public Safety are racing the clock as they try to combat the latest trend in the heroin and opioid epidemic.
There have been accounts across the country and as close as Harford County where law enforcement officers are getting carfentanil and fentanyl into their systems because of the drug's potency while responding to overdose calls.
As a preventative measure, the Department of Public Safety is working with local law enforcement to equip them with better masks and more gloves for when they respond to overdoses.
Deputies with the Carroll County Sheriff's Office already have heavy-duty gas masks that they use in riot situations, Sheriff Jim DeWees said. But the masks are bulky and hard to put on while trying to respond to a call, he said.
While carfentanil has "accelerated" the movement for getting protective equipment, it was something law enforcement was already working on, DeWees said.
"This is sort of a proactive approach to it," he said.
Brown said the department is constantly working on getting the proper equipment to deal with the environment in which officers, firefighters, emergency medical personnel and other first responders have to work.
"So we've always looked at this as a critical need," Brown said.
They started looking at changes in protective equipment as early as the 2000s during the anthrax scare, he said.