DEA warns police, first responders about dangers of fentanyl

The Bell County Sheriff’s Department has invested in the new lifesaving Naloxone kit to protect its narcotics-sniffing K-9, Flynn. (Photo by Crystal Rosado)
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WASHINGTON (KWTX) The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration issued an updated warning Tuesday to law enforcement agencies and other first responders about the dangers of fentanyl, a drug so potent that even a small amount can kill.

The drug or its derivatives can be inhaled or even absorbed through the skin or mucus membranes.

Fentanyl is deadly,” Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg warned in a video released Tuesday.

“Exposure to an amount equivalent to a few grains of sand can kill you. You can be in grave danger even if you unintentionally come into contact with fentanyl.”

The agency issued a nationwide alert in March 2015 about the danger the drug poses to health and public safety.

During the past three years, the agency says, “the distribution of clandestinely manufactured fentanyl has been linked to an unprecedented outbreak of thousands of overdoses and deaths.”

Fentanyl is as much as 50 times more potent than heroin and “represents an unusual hazard for law enforcement,” the agency says.

“The opioid epidemic nationwide has caused havoc and heartbreak for our children, friends and neighbors,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said.

“Any fentanyl exposure can kill innocent law enforcement, first responders and the public. As we continue to fight this epidemic, it is critical that we provide every tool necessary to educate the public and law enforcement about the dangers of fentanyl and its deadly consequences.”