Saturday, April 25, 2015

The dangers of Fentanyl

Edmonton Police Service

About Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a potent, synthetic opioid analgesic that has been used as a pain reliever and anesthetic since the 1960s. It depresses the central nervous system and respiratory functions.

Fentanyl is diverted via pharmacy theft, fraudulent prescriptions, and illicit distribution by patients or formulated in clandestine laboratories.

Since 2012, there has been an increase in drug seizures where Fentanyl has been mixed with other drugs or chemicals and pressed into counterfeit Oxycodone pills or as a powder in capsules.

Fentanyl can be absorbed into the body via inhalation, oral exposure, ingested or skin contact. It can be also be administered intravenously, intramuscularly or as a skin patch.

Powdered fentanyl is highly toxic and very dangerous to handle. Fentanyl represents an unusual hazard for law enforcement and all other public safety personnel: the improper handling of fentanyl can prove fatal. Lethal amounts vary depending on an individual’s tolerance and physical characteristics but an amount of pure fentanyl about the size of a few grains of table salt can be deadly.

The onset of adverse health effects such as disorientation, coughing, sedation, respiratory distress or cardiac arrest is very rapid and profound, usually occurring within minutes of exposure.

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