New Fentanyl Safety Video to Assist First Responders

Drug addiction and chemsex illustration with syringe and pillsThe U.S. Department of Justice, in collaboration with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, has announced the release of Fentanyl: The Real Deal, a companion training video to complement the informational Fentanyl Safety Recommendations for First Responders. Both of these resources aim to provide first responders with evidence-based recommendations to prevent accidental exposure to fentanyl.

The opioid crisis, caused by a rise in the use of opioids across the nation, has been part of the national conversation for some time. The predominance of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, which is more potent than morphine or heroine, presents a significant danger to law enforcement officers who respond to calls. Since fentanyl can take a variety of forms, including powder, tablets, solutions, and rocks, it is critical that officers protect themselves from exposure to all forms and react appropriately when exposure occurs.

Fentanyl Safety Recommendations for First Responders provides the following recommendations for officers:

  • Wear gloves when the presence of Fentanyl is suspected.
  • AVOID actions that may cause powder to become airborne.
  • Use a properly-fitted, NIOSH [National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health] approved respirator (“mask”), wear eye protection, and minimize skin contact when responding to a situation where small amounts of suspected fentanyl are visible and may become airborne.
  • Follow your department guidelines if the scene involves large amounts of suspected fentanyl (e.g., distribution/storage facility, pill milling operation, clandestine lab, gross contamination, spill or release).

The HSDL offers many additional resources related to the opioid crisis in our special featured topic Opioids, and in our series National Drug Threat Assessment. Please note: HSDL login is required to view some of these resources.

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