Cannabis! Fentanyl! Methamphetamine! Oh My
Coreen Robbins and Susan Kimball
1:30 pm – 5:00 pm
We are in the midst of an epidemic of opioid overdoses in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2016, 63,632 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States, 42,249 (66.4%) of which involved opioids. What is not apparent about this statistic is that fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid, is responsible for the majority of the opioid deaths. In addition, it is not pharmaceutical fentanyl that is the major culprit but illicit fentanyl and fentanyl analogues that are harming people. We generally expect to see a certain amount of drug addicts overdosing and some not surviving the event, however fentanyl is impacting more people than just drug addicts. Due to its potency and the public’s lack of knowledge regarding the hazards posed by illicit fentanyl, unsuspecting individuals who are not addicts are at risk. This includes not just police and first responders but individuals that may provide services in places where illicit fentanyl may be found. This discussion is designed to provide the tools to recognize hazards associated with illicit fentanyl, assess the risks of potential exposures, and avoid or control the exposures. In addition we will discuss recommendations for actions to be taken in the event a potential exposure occurs and how individuals can be prepared to deal with it.