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Fentanyl Exposure Risks for Law Enforcement

About Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a prescription drug and a synthetic opioid with the same effects of morphine but at a much higher potency. Because it is so potent and readily available, the illegal drug trade is using fentanyl and fentanyl analogs as an additive ("cut into") heroin and other controlled substances.

The potency of these drugs has led to an alarming increase in overdose incidents and overdose-related deaths. Fentanyl poses a significant threat to law enforcement personnel and other first responders who may come in contact through routine law enforcement, emergency or life-saving activities. Fentanyl may be ingested orally, inhaled through the nose or mouth, or absorbed through the skin or eyes. Exposure to a very small amount may lead to significant health-related complications, respiratory depression, or death.1

Resources for Law Enforcement

1 From the US Dept. of Justice/DEA, Fentanyl: A Briefing Guide for First Responders