Back in May, a police officer from Ohio named Chris Green said that he overdosed on fentanyl while searching the vehicle of two suspected drug dealers. While he initially wore gloves to search, he says that at one point he brushed a white substance off of his shirt with his bare hand, and ended up passing out and being rushed to the hospital.
That story made me want to research fentanyl, one of the most powerful opioids on Earth, and write about the alarming reality of this highly dangerous drug, which is being sold in some cities in America and Canada as heroin, packing a much deadlier punch. Today, though, it looks like the initial story appears to be bullshit.
Shouts to Slate for digging deeper into the story and uncovering that there's no evidence of fentanyl exposure via skin causing that kind of reaction in people. There's apparently one case regarding fentanyl's cousin carfentanil that caused a vet to get drowsy after mistakenly squirting it in his eye, but he didn't experience the effects that Green claimed.
"But what about the fentanyl patch," you might ask. That's right, doctors can prescribe a patch that releases controlled doses of fentanyl through the skin. Well, according to medical toxicologist Ed Boyer (who works at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital) says “Fentanyl, applied dry to the skin, will not be absorbed. There is a reason that the fentanyl patches took years [for pharmaceutical companies] to develop." Others have gone to lengths of drafting statements shooting down the idea of absorbing fentanyl in that manner.
The Slate piece goes into more depth to question HOW Green may have ingested the substance; who knows if some of the powder he brushed off of his shirt didn't end up getting inhaled or being ingested. That's all speculation, but its fascinating to read their thoughts on it. Just know that Green more than likely didn't get that powerful of a hit of fentanyl by brushing it off of his shirt.
Don't get it twisted, though: fentanyl isn't something you want to take lightly. This drug can put permanent end to all of your future plans.