WFPD talks dangers of fentanyl tracings found on money

Although it hasn’t happened in Wichita Falls, police are keeping their eyes open.
Published: Jul. 15, 2022 at 6:09 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Fentanyl is now the leading cause of death for adults ages 18 to 45. It’s so deadly that we’re hearing reports of people overdosing from just touching it.

In Tennessee and Alabama, those reports have been confirmed while reports in Oklahoma City and Houston are still under investigation.

Although it hasn’t happened in Wichita Falls, police are keeping their eyes open.

“We are investigating, we are taking it very seriously,” Wichita Falls Police Department PIO Sgt. Charlie Eipper said.

Finding money on the ground used to be a sign of good luck, but these days you have to be weary of what might be on that dollar bill.

“Somebody that is using it, just handling money at the same time,” Eipper said. “It could be part of transactions where money is laid out with the drug itself and it gets on the money, then it is picked up and taken out. Then somebody just drops it or loses it.”

Health officials said exposure to fentanyl through the skin is very unlikely to cause health issues, but there’s always a chance it could get through.

“There is a possibility that if the powder was on the skin that if you licked your fingers or stuck your finger up your nose, it could be absorbed more rapidly through those surfaces,” Dr. Robert Dillard, emergency physician at United Regional, said.

Dillard said people have different reactions to fentanyl, and if someone were to start experiencing symptoms, they might not even notice it.

“It is more likely that somebody who is with them or around them will notice the symptoms than the patient themselves if it is an actual opioid overdose,” Dillard said. “People tend to get very sleepy first and normally they don’t really notice they are getting that sleepy necessarily, then their breathing slows down.”

If you stumble across money and it looks like there is a substance on it, call the police immediately. However, if you feel like you must pick it up, do this:

“If you think you really need to pick it up, grab some gloves, grab something to protect your skin from what’s on there,” Eipper said. “Just be careful with what you are picking up out there. If it looks suspicious, there is probably a good reason why so just be careful about picking that up.”

If you happen to pick something up and are worried, health officials said to not touch your face at all and to wash your hands immediately.

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