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Redmond PD receives new $31K drug analyzer system to safely test substances

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(The Center Square) – The Redmond Police Department has unveiled a new tool to test unknown substances without exposing officers to dangerous substances.

The $31,000 handheld analyzer uses a laser to scan through transparent packaging and can identify the chemical composition of more than 530 controlled substances, such as fentanyl, methamphetamine and heroin, meaning police officers can avoid direct contact with those substances.

The device is paid for by state opioid settlement funds to address the opioid crisis and improve treatment options. The $31,000 price tag represents 30% of Redmond’s annual opioid distribution from two settlements with opioid distributors and retailers that totals approximately $104,000 per year.

“Redmond police takes the growing drug problem seriously and is committed to keeping drugs off the streets,” Redmond Police Chief Darrell Lowe said in a news release. “This new tool reduces the handling of dangerous narcotics and minimizes the risks to our officers’ health while helping keep our community safe.”

The latest use of opioid funds comes as Redmond police officers and officers throughout King County continue to be exposed to more lethal drugs such as fentanyl. The drug epidemic has worsened in Redmond and the county so much that King County officials have announced they are implementing new strategies to stop the surge of overdoses and to expand treatment.

According to Public Health-Seattle and King County, there were a record-breaking 1,323 drug overdose deaths in King County in 2023, with 82% of deaths involving fentanyl.

As of Wednesday, there have been 192 overdose deaths this year.

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