Arkansas Police Department Warns About Accidental Fentanyl Exposure

Arkansas Police Department Warns About Accidental Fentanyl Exposure

Leachville Police Department, in Arkansas, recently warned Walmart shoppers to wipe down their shopping carts—and not just because of germs.

“You know when you go to Walmart and they have the wipes to clean your cart handle? How many of you don’t use them?” read Wednesday’s Facebook post, which was deleted the following day. The post continues to warn about the possibility of accidental fentanyl exposure in the midst of the nationwide opioid epidemic, simply by touching a cart handle that may have fentanyl remnants. “All you’d have to do is rub your nose or touch your child’s mouth… children being exposed to just the power or residue is a bad situation that can turn deadly.”

Fentanyl was originally developed to treat intense pain, often experienced by patients in the final stages of cancer. The potent opioid, 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin, can be obtained legally with a prescription but has been increasingly mixed with heroin and sold illegally; this increase also applies to the likelihood of accidental fentanyl exposure.

The Drug Enforcement Administration recently gave first-responders a warning about black-market fentanyl and the dangers of accidental fentanyl exposure, saying it can be “absorbed through the skin or eyes, any substance suspected to contain fentanyl should be treated with extreme caution as exposure to a small amount can lead to significant health-related complications, respiratory depression, or death.”

While there is still debate over the realistic likelihood of overdosing by accidental fentanyl exposure, the potency—and risk—of fentanyl is very real.

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