Perceived occupational risk of fentanyl exposure among law enforcement

Authors: Peyton R Attaway, Hope M Smiley-McDonald, Peter J Davidson, Alex H Kral


Background: Although toxicologists, medical professionals, and service providers have determined that the risk of overdose from fentanyl exposure is extremely low for law enforcement and other first responders, hundreds of media and social media accounts contradict these facts, making these civil servants unnecessarily concerned about such occupational hazards.

Methods: We conducted a qualitative study to explore knowledge and fear of fentanyl exposure by interviewing 23 law enforcement leaders and officers in five diverse law enforcement agencies in the United States.

Results: Nearly all leaders and officers interviewed wrongly believed that dermal exposure to fentanyl was deadly and expressed fear about such exposure on scene. Officers had a lack of education about fentanyl exposure and faulty or dubious sources of information about it.

Conclusion: There is a substantial, pressing need for dissemination of research about the lack of overdose risk associated with dermal fentanyl exposure through channels that law enforcement trust, including through basic academy, in-service training, and law enforcement bulletins and newsletters.


Keywords: Fentanyl; Fentanyl dermal risk exposure; Law enforcement; Naloxone; Police.


This article is a trending article in the field of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The abstract above was written by the author(s) below. This study was conducted by the author(s) below and published in the journal or book below.


Authors: Peyton R Attaway, Hope M Smiley-McDonald, Peter J Davidson, Alex H Kral

Journal: The International journal on drug policy


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