The true dangers of fentanyl

Fentanyl has been in the news quite a bit recently. A police officer in Ohio had a brush with death a couple of days ago when he came in contact with the drug. According to reports, an Ohio police officer stopped a suspicious vehicle and witnessed two occupants trying to rub a white substance into the vehicle's carpet.

The officer was wearing gloves during the search of the vehicle and its occupants, but somehow got fentanyl on his uniform. He wiped the drug off his uniform sometime later, but was no longer wearing gloves. The officer then passed out and had to be rushed to the hospital. The news reports stated that the officer needed four doses of Narcan to revive him from the accidental overdose.

A professor of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado hospital said that fentanyl is 100 times more powerful than morphine. The drug is typically used for patients who are terminally ill or for patients who are undergoing surgery.

In powder form, just one milligram of the substance can cause an overdose. To compare, one milligram of the drug in powder is the size of a grain of sea salt.

"Even in the hospital, we monitor people very closely when we give them this drug because taking too much of it can make someone stop breathing," the professor said.

The professor said that the drug can be absorbed through the skin or breathed in through the lungs. The professor believes the officer in Ohio inhaled the drug while inspecting the car or the occupants and that wiping it off his uniform was not the cause of his overdose.

"Fentanyl, unfortunately, often binds so tightly that we sometimes have to give multiple doses of Narcan to reverse the effects," the professor said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls the drug, "a significant danger to public health workers, first responders and law enforcement personnel that may unwittingly come into contact with it."

An experienced products liability attorney can answer all of your questions surrounding dangerous or defective drugs, including fentanyl, in Tennessee.

Source: 9News, "Verify: How dangerous is it to touch the drug fentanyl? Loading," May 15, 2017

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