Cinnaminson, NJ, July 10th
In April, U.S. News & World Report
published an article that claimed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had been considering classifying the drug fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine and a lethal dose is just 2 milligrams in most people.
Fentanyl’s been a growing concern as the abuse and illegal use of pharmaceutical and clandestinely produced fentanyl has been found nationwide. More recently, it is increasingly being used as an additive with other illicit drugs such as heroin, cocaine, meth and MDMA to increase the potency of those drugs. Its use has resulted in devastating overdose numbers and the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, are now the most common drugs involved in deaths due to drug overdoses.
With fentanyl’s expanding use, emergency responders are increasingly being put at risk of exposure. To help address this, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has published information to help prevent occupational exposure with emergency responders. The agency specifically mentions the following four job categories of workers at risk, they include those involved with:
- Pre-Hospital Patient Care
- Law Enforcement
- Investigation and Evidence Handling
- Special Operations and Decontamination
“Emergency responders could be exposed to fentanyl or other dangerous drugs through inhalation, mucous membrane contact, ingestion, needlestick and skin contact,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President, Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “While skin contact is not as likely to cause life-threatening respiratory depression, the other forms of contact could. At EMSL, we help emergency responders determine if fentanyl is present from bulk and environmental samples through advanced testing conducted by some of the nation’s leading scientists. In addition to fentanyl, EMSL provides this form of testing for methamphetamine, heroin, ecstasy, cocaine, THC, MDMA, LSD and other drugs.”
EMSL has also recently sponsored an educational video about fentanyl and potential occupational exposure that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/EHnJ6ed0esI.
To learn more about fentanyl or other illicit drug, industrial hygiene, environmental, health and safety testing services, please visit www.EMSL.com, email info@EMSL.com or call (800) 220-3675.
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories with over 45 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP <797>, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA LAP, LLC. (AIHA EMLAP, AIHA IHLAP, AIHA ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at www.EMSL.com for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.