Fentanyl Can Kill: DEA Warns Law Enforcement Community

In the law enforce2000px-US-DrugEnforcementAdministration-Seal.svgment community, roll call serves a vital capacity to pass on information from prior shifts and as a continual training tool. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), along with other agencies, take advantage of roll call to instruct departments nationwide on current trends and dangers officers may confront in the field. Recently, the DEA released an Officer Safety Alert video urging the dangers of fentanyl to law enforcement personnel.

Fentanyl, a powerful Schedule II narcotic, is responsible for an epidemic of overdoses within the United States. Up to 50 times more powerful than heroin, a small dosage of fentanyl can be deadly to officers, public health workers, and other first responders. “Fentanyl can kill you,” claims Jack Riley, Deputy Administrator of the DEA, in the video. “Fentanyl is being sold as heroin in virtually every corner of our country.” Alongside Administrator Riley in this alert video, two detectives from the Atlantic County, New Jersey Task force recall an experience with fentanyl and the possible life threatening consequences. Riley then closes with some safety precautions:

  • “Don’t field test in your car or on the street, or take it back to the office”
  • “Transport it directly to a laboratory where it can be safely handled and tested”
  • “Fentanyl can kill our canine companions, take precautions for their safety, too”

The instances of fentanyl are increasing according to the DEA National Forensic Lab Information’s recent data. In 2015, 13,002 forensic exhibits of fentanyl were tested nationwide which is up 65 percent from the 2014 number of 7,864. With the escalation of fentanyl, knowledge of this dangerous substance is a priority.

The Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL) seeks to serve the law enforcement community in this area of  need. HSDL can increase awareness during roll call through many resources targeted towards public servants. The site contains numerous assessments, hearings, and publications on various narcotics, including fentanyl, that can be reached with a brief search of the homepage(some resources may require HSDL login.)