Reality or Myth: Touching Fentanyl Can Kill You

Reality or Myth: Touching Fentanyl Can Kill You

Can Touching Fentanyl Kill You?

Fentanyl is a potent pain-relieving medication in the opioid class of drugs. It is similar in structure to morphine but is considered to be as much as 100 times more powerful. This medication is used to treat individuals with chronic severe pain or those dealing with pain following surgical procedures. In some cases, emergency medical personnel and first responders face coming into contact with this powerful medication. In recent times, the media has reported that coming into contact with this drug could potentially pose a serious hazard for these professionals. Can touching fentanyl kill you? This concept is becoming a commonly held belief that may make some professionals afraid to do their jobs, but is there any truth behind it? 

Why is Fentanyl Feared?

This type of medication is extremely potent. It is often used only when a patient has built up a tolerance to other pain-relieving medications. Like other opioid pain relievers, it works by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain. This results in an increase in dopamine levels, which has a relaxing effect on the individual.

Where does the fear come into play with this type of medication? People can become fearful of this type of drug because they are aware of its potency. Additionally, people may fear it because they're aware of the effects it can have on vital bodily functions. Since this type of medication affects dopamine levels and produces a relaxed state, it can also affect breathing patterns. Therefore, using too much of it could cause respiratory depression severe enough to eventually lead to coma or death.

Can Touching Fentanyl Lead to an Accidental Overdose?

News stories relaying an incidence of someone becoming ill after simply touching a drug such as this can create unnecessary worry or fear in many people. Emergency personnel never know what type of scene they may be entering when they respond to various incidents. It is only natural to expect news items such as this to be upsetting and create fear in the minds of individuals who do this type of work.

Rest assured, it is virtually impossible for someone to absorb enough Fentanyl through their skin to cause a serious overdose simply by touching it. Medical professionals and scientists confirm that not enough of the drug can be absorbed in this manner to create a life-threatening opioid overdose. Unfortunately, this is a myth that has continued to circulate in the media for some time. Medical professionals, emergency personnel, and laymen alike can be certain that simply touching fentanyl or other opioids will not result in harm to the average individual. There is no need for these individuals to be afraid of encountering these substances on the job. 

Using Powerful Opioid Medications Safely

Potent pain-relieving medications such as those of the opioid class continue to have a use when it comes to treating severe pain, especially in those who no longer respond to weaker medications. However, these types of drugs are powerful and must be administered in the proper setting and with careful regard to using them correctly. Proper education on using these medications safely and under the supervision of a medical professional can reduce the risk of dependency, misuse, and overdose in many cases.

Due to the exceptionally powerful nature of the drug, many people have developed a fear of coming into contact with potent medications such as the one discussed here. However, can touching fentanyl really kill you? Fortunately, research seems to indicate that the chances of this occurring are extremely small. While there is always a need to deal with these substances in a responsible manner, there is no need for first responders and other professionals to fear accidentally touching the drug. It is crucial that we continue to promote a solid understanding of potent medications and teach patients to use them responsibly to avoid injury or overdose.