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The Risks of Fentanyl Exposure for Law Enforcement, First Responder Workers, and Communities

Law Enforcement personnel throughout the United States are seeing record-high levels of drug trafficking, crime, and domestic violence. As a result, Deputies, Police Officers, and State Troopers are engaging with more and more people daily and are prone to being exposed to harmful drugs such as fentanyl, methamphetamines, heroin, and ecstasy. Fentanyl, in particular, has taken the United States by a storm and, as a result, fentanyl-related fatalities have skyrocketed over the last 5 years. The number of fentanyl seizures has more than quadrupled since last year. People keep dying at extraordinary rates, and drug overdoses are currently the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 18 and 45. (1)

Fentanyl is particularly lethal because of its extreme toxicity; it is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. (2) Due to its high prevalence, Law Enforcement Officers are incidentally exposed to fentanyl at a much more frequent rate and even the smallest exposure can be fatal. More and more videos surface throughout the US of law enforcement Officers and first responders overdosing or experiencing seizures due to fentanyl exposure. Fentanyl is being sold through illegal drug markets and is often mixed with heroin and/or cocaine as a combination product—with or without the user’s knowledge—to increase its euphoric effects. (3)

Law Enforcement Agencies are seizing fentanyl more than ever before and this deadly drug is taking more and more lives every day. "I am shocked at the amount of fentanyl pills that we're seizing and the fentanyl powder that we're seizing. Week by week, month by month, we're seizing more and more," said Frank Tarentino, DEA New York's top agent. (4) Fentanyl is not only a problem for law enforcement but is now being targeted to the younger generations and is being manufactured in rainbow colors to look like candy. The war against fentanyl and other related drugs does not seem to be going away and is a problem that Law Enforcement is going to have to tackle head on.

Law Enforcement Officers are constantly engaging with the community and are placed in numerous situations that can be deadly. It is important to know the deadly and negative effects that harmful drugs possess as they are being transported throughout the entire country. All first responders should be cautious of the items and people they engage with to ensure the safety of themselves and others around them. Big Sky Decon is dedicated to working with law enforcement nationwide to come up with/discover a safer solution for a problem that will not be going away anytime soon.


  1. Gascon, G. (2022). A war on fentanyl, not a war on people: George Gascón. Daily News.

  2. Gascon, G. (2022). A war on fentanyl, not a war on people: George Gascón. Daily News.

  3. (2022). Fentanyl. CDC.

  4. Bisram, J. (2022). Authorities say drug dealers are using rainbow fentanyl to target younger generation. MSN.

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