At-risk populations to unintentional and intentional fentanyl and fentanyl+ exposure
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Rising exposure to Fentanyl and Fentanyl + is causing both intentional and unintentional effects. Besides the increasing number of overdoses and deaths from these toxic substances, there are risks for many others such as first responders in law enforcement, fire services, the medical sector, as well as those in transportation, and the public-at-large. Fentanyl and its derivatives (labeled here as Fentanyl+) can be over 20 times more profitable than heroin. The powder is cheap and easy to obtain on the Dark Web; and, is shipped via the United States Postal Service, or other delivery firms, almost undetected from China where it is produced. Mexico is also becoming a major producer and distributor of Fentanyl and its derivatives. In November 2017, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health – a division of the Centers for Disease Control- developed recommendations to address a wide area release of Fentanyl + as a weapon of terrorism. This paper seeks to articulate the threat posed by rising Fentanyl and Fentanyl + usage; and, identifies the potential at-risk populations from intentional and unintentional exposure to these dangerous chemicals.