A central Alberta patrol officer had to be hospitalized after he was exposed to fentanyl Saturday, CTV News has learned. 

Peace Officer Jeremy Hampton was on patrol in Seba Beach, on the western shore of Wabamum Lake Saturday, when he spotted a vial lying on the ground.

“I came across what I observed to be a little vial on the ground, so I ended up stopping to pick it up. I put on my rubber gloves, picked up the vial, which looked like it had some type of white powdery substance in it,” Hampton said. “Ended up folding the glove in on the vial, and held on to that.”

He said he drove back to the village office to notify the Evansburg RCMP detachment to arrange for the vial to be disposed of safely.

He said the situation started taking a turn a short time later.

“I ended up having difficulty breathing, my heart started racing, so I immediately went to wash my hands to try to get any residue that had come off the vial onto my hands off.”

Hampton said he nearly blacked out and began losing his vision. After contacting RCMP, he injected himself with a single dose of naloxone.

Paramedics arrived and rushed Hampton to hospital where he was held for four hours, according to the Alberta Peace Officers Professional Association (APOPA).

A spokesperson for APOPA told CTV News officers found traces of fentanyl on the dashboard of Hampton’s car and ticket books.

When contacted, Evansburg RCMP said it would look into the matter before providing comment.

On Wednesday, notices were posted around Seba Beach warning residents and visitors of the incident. The notice said the vial picked up by the officer contained fentanyl, MDMA and cocaine.

The notice said residents are advised to call 911 if they find anything suspicious on the road, and to talk with children about the importance of doing so. Plus, naloxone kits can be picked up for free at local pharmacies and through Alberta Health Services.

“It was very humbling and scary at the same time to come across something like that,” Hampton said.

Still, the officer, who has worked in Seba Beach for three years, said he’s glad he was the one who found the vial.

“We have a lot of residents who walk along that portion of the road as well as kids, I’m glad I found it because if a kid had picked it up it might have been a different story.”

With files from Dan Grummett