Fentanyl Is So Deadly That It’s Changing How First Responders Do Their Jobs


  • Fentanyl Is So Deadly That It’s Changing How First Responders Do Their Jobs - The Atlantic

    As the number of fentanyl overdoses in America climbed last fall, the New Hampshire State Police Forensic Laboratory released a photo to highlight the drug’s particular dangers. The photo showed two vials. One showed how big a lethal dose of heroin might be: 30 milligrams, a small scoop. The second showed the equivalent for fentanyl: 3 milligrams, a bare sprinkle.

    It was a warning to potential users, but also a visual reminder that fentanyl is so potent that it is dangerous even for people might accidentally touch or breath a tiny amount of it. People like police, EMTs, forensic labs technicians, and even funeral directors. A puff of fentanyl from closing a plastic bag is enough to send a full-grown man to the emergency room, as a police officer from New Jersey described in a Drug Enforcement Agency video last fall. The DEA made the video as part of an official warning to law enforcement about the dangers of handling fentanyl.

    The unprecedented rise of fentanyl has forced police and crime labs to change how they work. Police departments are using protective gear like Tyvek suits and respirators. Crime labs are looking for new ways to detect fentanyl without opening the bag. And both have stocked up on naloxone, the drug that reverses overdoses, for their employees.

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