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Recommendations, Video, Seek To Dispel Myths About Fentanyl Exposure

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2018
2 pages
This article from the December 2018 issue of TechBeat summarizes the contents of a document ("Fentanyl Safety Recommendations for First Responders") and a law enforcement training video ("Fentanyl: the Real Deal") that correct misinformation and myths regarding accidental fentanyl exposure.
According to the training video, in 2012, 2,625 U.S. residents died by overdosing on synthetic opioids other than methadone. Four years later, that number had increased by 639 percent to 19,413. In addition to the magnitude of overdoses, first responders must also deal with concerns about on-the-job exposure to the drugs; however, according to new recommendations developed by an Interagency Working Group composed of 10 federal departments and agencies, medical experts agree that most daily encounters that involve fentanyl do not present significant health threats when first responders take appropriate protective actions. Precaution begins with washing thoroughly with soap and water following accidental skin contact with suspicious white powders. Other protective measures include the use of proper personal protective equipment and carrying naloxone to counteract drug overdoses. Both the National Sheriffs' Association (NSA) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) recommend the training video.