RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Drug Enforcement Administration released a new guide concerning fentanyl, which is a synthetic opioid that mimics the effects of morphine in the human body but has a stronger potency than morphine. It has been increasingly utilized in heroin.
The potency of synthetic drugs has led to an increase in overdose incidents and overdose-related deaths across the nation.
The guide aims to help first responders, such as law enforcement personnel when dealing with these incidents. The opioids may not just affect those who choose to take them, but the first responders who come in contact with them as well.
Since fentanyl can be taken orally, inhaled, or even absorbed through the skin or eyes, any substance that is suspected to contain fentanyl should be treated with caution.
According to the guide, exposure to even a small amount can lead to health complications or death. Some personal protective equipment (PPE).
Individuals should at least utilize a kit of nitrile gloves, dust masks, protective eyewear, paper coveralls and shoe covers as well as Naloxone injectors.
Naxolone can be injected as an antidote to opioid exposure. There are also levels A through C of PPEs, which vary in protection value, such as an entire suit with a self-sustaining breathing apparatus that is considered Level A.
It also notes that if exposed to fentanyl, individuals should not use hand sanitizer, as its alcohol base could increase the skin’s absorption rate.
The DEA is currently evaluating detection devices that can be used in field-testing for evidence of fentanyl’s presence to better tackle the opioid crisis.