U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY In the last several years, U.S. Law Enforcement has seen a dramatic increase in the availability of dangerous synthetic opioids. A large majority of these synthetic opioids are structural derivatives of the synthetic drug “fentanyl.” Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid currently listed as a Schedule II prescription drug that mimics the effects of morphine in the human body, but has potency 50–100 times that of morphine. Due to the high potency and availability of fentanyl, both transnational and domestic criminal organizations are increasingly utilizing these dangerous synthetic opioids as an adulterant in heroin and other controlled substances. The presence of these synthetic opioids in the illicit U.S. drug market is extremely concerning as the potency of these drugs has led to a significant increase in overdose incidents and overdose‐ related deaths throughout the nation.
WARNING There is a significant threat to law enforcement personnel, and other first responders, who may come in contact with fentanyl and other fentanyl‐related substances through routine law enforcement, emergency or life‐saving activities. Since fentanyl can be ingested orally, inhaled through the nose or mouth, or 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.
Fentanyl is powerful, dangerous stuff best suited for an operating room under the watchful supervision of a qualified anesthesiologist. The thought of it being used elsewhere (other than perhaps in a specially formulated delayed-release patch) goes beyond scary! It’s a death sentence to the unsuspecting.