National News

Officials warn residue in hotels could contain potentially dangerous substance

Posted June 27

— Police are warning those staying in area hotels to be on the lookout for a potentially dangerous substance left behind by others that can cause potentially life-threatening injuries.

Residue from fentanyl and other opioids could be on tables and dressers inside hotel rooms as well as rental vehicles, restrooms or even vacant apartments.

CBS46 has warned people in the past that just touching an amount as small as a grain of salt can be deadly. Even breathing in the substance can have potentially fatal effects. Once it is absorbed, it bonds to proteins inside the body.

Although police say they don't have any cases of accidental exposures linked to people who are not involved in drugs, they're just putting the warning out there.

In fact, an Ohio police officer executing a traffic stop nearly died after touching the substance. Two people inside a vehicle he had pulled over tried rubbing it into the vehicle's carpet and the officer got some of the powder on his shirt. After brushing it off, he passed out a short time later. He was revived after several doses of Narcan.

In 2015, Several officers at a police department in New Jersey came in contact with the substance and experienced respiratory distress.

During May 2016, a traffic stop outside Atlanta resulted in the seizure of 40 kilograms of fentanyl – initially believed to be bricks of cocaine – wrapped into blocks hidden in buckets and immersed in a thick fluid.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid used to relieve pain during surgery or for terminally ill patients. It is described as being as much as 100 times more potent than morphine and several times more potent than heroin, depending on how it is manufactured in a lab.

According to the CDC, these are the methods of dissemination of fentanyl:

Indoor Air: Fentanyl can be released into indoor air as fine particles or liquid spray (aerosol).

Water: Fentanyl can be used to contaminate water.

Food: Fentanyl can be used to contaminate food.

Outdoor Air: Fentanyl can be released into outdoor air as fine particles or liquid spray (aerosol).

Agricultural: If fentanyl is released into the air as fine particles or liquid spray (aerosol), it has the potential to contaminate agricultural products.

Also keep in mind that fentanyl can be absorbed into the body by inhalation, oral exposure or ingestion, or skin contact. It is not known whether fentanyl can be absorbed systemically through the eye.

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