FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida. Fentanyl is so deadly, that the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that it would only take 118 pounds of fentanyl to kill 25 million people. Some even claim that the drug could be used in a terrorist attack. Many reports indicate that even just a few grains of the drug can be deadly. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, deaths linked to fentanyl grew to 29,406 people. While there is little research to prove that casual exposure to fentanyl can result in death, police officers are being trained to avoid even casual exposure to fentanyl. As a result, some police officers are treating the drug the same way as they would a loaded gun.
The New York Times recently reported on a case in which a man discovered fentanyl in his home (it was not his, but rather belonged to a friend’s son whom he was helping through recovery). When police arrived, the packet opened, and the drug went airborne toward the officers. One of the officers claims that he experienced side effects as a result of exposure. The officers charged the man with “reckless conduct.”
This is not the only story where people in possession of fentanyl have faced reckless endangerment charges. In some cases people are charged with endangerment, and in other instances individuals faced charges of assault. Yet, some experts say that no one has died due to casual exposure to fentanyl and that the risk of casual exposure is highly over-reported. Individuals can die from ingesting the drug, but casual contact has yet to result in a death. For officers to be affected by casual contact, they’d need to encounter an aerosol form of the drug, or encounter a form of the drug enhanced enough to be absorbed by the skin. Some researchers claim that officers’ physical reactions to casual contact may be the placebo effect at work. Police officers, however, are being warned of the risk. In training videos they are warned that breathing in the dust can be fatal.
There are concerns that people will be reluctant to call the police in the future if they witness a friend or family member overdosing.
What can you do if you are facing charges for reckless conduct, endangerment, or assault because you called the police to report an overdose? First, protect your rights. Remember that you have the right to remain silent and that you have the right to call your lawyer. Michael D. Weinstein, PA is a criminal defense lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida who can help you understand your rights, your charges, and the next steps to protecting yourself. You are innocent until proven guilty and there may be laws in place to protect “good Samaritans” who call for help. Reach out to https://mdwlawfirm.com/ to learn more today if you are facing charges for fentanyl possession, opioid possession, or for endangerment charges due to possessing this drug.
Michael D. Weinstein, P.A.
12 Southeast 7th Street, Suite 713
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301