The Leachville Police Department in Arkansas caused a stir by issuing a warning on their Facebook page.
A post shared by LPD recommends wiping down your shopping cart, because fentanyl residue could remain on the handle.
Fentanyl is a highly dangerous opiod 30-50 times stronger than heroin.
WCMH-TV Columbus reports:
Police are advising shoppers to take a simple extra step that could save your life.
The next time you’re hauling a cart around the store, be sure to wipe down the handles first.
One police department is recommending this to the public, but it’s not because of germs reason we’re all thinking.
They say if you skip using a wipe, that can usually be found at the front of most stores, it could be deadly.
The original warning seemed to indicate that fentenyl can be absorbed through the hands if left on a shopping cart handle. It was quickly removed from the Leachville Police Department Facebook page, but not before several other news sources picked up on the story.
Some sources quickly denounced the police department Facebook post, calling it “false.”
Drug task force leaders said the chances of that happening are incredibly slim. In fact, Lt. Scott Reed from the Multi-County Narcotics and Violent Crimes Unit says, if someone had enough fentanyl in their system to the point where it would transfer from their skin, they would probably be unconscious or dead. Reed says they would probably be too high to get out of their car, grab a cart, and go shopping.
Chad Sabora from the Missouri Network for Opiate Reform & Recovery says sharing the misinformation could do a lot of harm.
“This is more dangerous than people realize when we’re making up these lies,” Sabora said. “We’re portraying opiate users like plague-like individuals … The more we do this, the more we villainize the opiate user and the less likely people are going to be willing to help them.”
The experts weighed in and now you know. Picking up a dangerous dose of fentanyl from a shopping cart is false.
Well, it’s almost false, but not quite. Absorbing fentanyl through the skin might be extremely unlikely, but not necessarily impossible. A lethal dose could be as little as 0.25 mg, and kids could be especially susceptible. Accidental inhalation or oral consumption could still pose a threat.
The LPD might not have meant to issue a warning because the chances of the shopping cart scenario are just to slim to alarm the public.
CNN reported in May that a police officer who’d accidentally come into contact with Fentanyl overdosed seemingly by brushing the powder off his shirt with his bare hands.
The fact checking website Snopes called skin absorption of the drug “extremely unlikely” and suggested that the officer likely accidentally inhaled some of the powder.
The original warning from LPD’s Facebook page read: “The police chief suggests you do it also because of all the problems with drugs nowadays and if they have Fentanyl or something like that still on their hands and they touch that cart handle and then you do, it can get into your system,” said the police department.
This was deleted and soon replaced with an apology.
“The post about the fentanyl was sent so me from another officer at another Department,” the LPD post states. “I simply shared it. I’m should have checked into it further before I posted it. Sorry for the confusion.”
Is this just plain false, or is there still a reason to be cautious?
Let us know what you think, and sound off in the comments below.