Fentanyl exposure risk

Exposure to fentanyl can be consequential for first responders, police officers, and others

Fentanyl is a dangerous synthetic drug considered up to 50 times more potent than heroin. Exposure to fentanyl can happen by inhaling, ingesting, skin contact, or contact with a contaminated needle. This powerful drug was developed to help cancer patients, those in hospice care, and others with debilitating pain or injury. On the street, this drug is very dangerous, and often deadly.

Law enforcement, first responders, and medical care providers are all dealing with the increased presence of fentanyl in the community. These professionals all know how even the tiniest amount of fentanyl can be damaging and deadly; and because of its street use, the purity and strength of the drug can be hard to guess in any given scenario. Every time these professionals are in a situation where fentanyl might be present, they use caution.

Protective gear can be used to help limit exposure to fentanyl. Nitrile gloves, respirators, protective eyewear, and other items can help keep you from coming into contact with fentanyl. Fentanyl can be found in liquid or powder form, and even indirect contact can have serious health consequences. Even a few tiny granules of this drug is a dangerous dose, and that tiny size makes it easy for first responders, police officers, ER nurses, and others to accidentally handle it or become exposed to it.

Professionals who come into contact with fentanyl on the job might notice immediate symptoms, or the symptoms might take time to set in. Symptoms include rapid or irregular heartbeat, mood changes, poor balance or coordination, dizziness, chest tightness or the feeling that it’s hard to breathe. If any of these are felt, seek medical help immediately.

Fentanyl exposure on the job can have serious health consequences. Our first responders, law enforcement professionals, emergency room workers, and others who may come into contact with it must take extreme caution: using respirators, watching for loose needles and avoiding needlesticks, and removing and storing equipment properly while not touching eyes, nose, or mouth. Fentanyl represents a deadly problem for the community, as well as a deadly concern for professionals who might come into contact with it.

If you’ve been exposed to fentanyl at work, consult with our expert workers’ compensation attorneys. Your exposure is a serious problem, and deserves a serious response. Call NRS today to learn more.