Investigating danger of touching fentanyl-laced objects

Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 10:04 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A report out of Tennessee claims a woman said she picked up a dollar and ended up in the emergency room, overdosing on fentanyl.

Addiction scholars are calling foul on claims that touching a door, dollar or any object that comes into contact with the deadly drug fentanyl can put you at risk.

The reassurance from medical experts comes as videos spread of people, even police, who claim to overdose after simply touching traces of fentanyl off of objects.

“Every time one of these has been explored in depth, they have fallen apart, either because they can not find fentanyl in the person who suffered the alleged overdose or they’re unable to show that the only exposure was from an object on the floor.” Dr. Stefan Kertesz said.

Addiction scholar, Dr. Stefan Kertesz, with UAB said the reactions to suspected fentanyl exposure through skin contact is not in line with what an opioid overdose looks like.

“In a real overdose, a person actually fades off. They stop breathing. They don’t announce that they are having a new event. They just fade away and their breathing slows. So, what’s shown in many of these videos looks like the opposite of an opioid overdose and a lot like a panic attack,” said Kertesz.

Dr. Kertesz explained the reactions are possibly driven by fear of the drug.

He went on to explain that fentanyl can be absorbed through the skin; in fact, there are prescription pain patches that contain the drug but coming into contact with contaminated objects, he says, is unlikely to cause overdose or death.

If you do come into contact with fentanyl, immediately wash the contaminated area with soap and water.

Fentanyl is still a dangerous drug.

According to the CDC, more than 107,000 people died from opioid overdoses in 2021 in the United States.


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