“Fentanyl exposure” is not a thing

Originally published at: “Fentanyl exposure” is not a thing - Boing Boing


If it were that easy, OR’s would be overflowing with the bodies of ex-anesthesiologists. As this is not the case, one suspects that this is bullshit.


On the other hand, cops pretending to overdose from minor fentanyl exposures reduces the instances of cops writing “Pig” on their own Starbucks cups to try to get coffee shops closed down.


they’re not pretending to overdose from minor exposure. They’re using the drug they’re seizing and then falling back on this when they get caught.


The nonsense “fentanyl exposure” posturing from the police has always struck me as living in the same category as fake football injuries.


Exactly. And nothing would even make it to the streets because the makers and/or dealers would OD before they could sell it.


Pictured: a Fentanyl Pusher covertly plying their illicit trade on the streets of YOUR town.


Okay, THAT meme wins the interwebz!?!


If true, me and every pill bottle in my house…expired or not…



I was told to be very careful handling the fentanyl patches I sometimes had to apply to my father’s arm when he was in his final year, but I assume that the gel on those items has a very high concentration of the medication.

The results of drug dealers lacing their junk with fentanyl (as a marketing tool – yay capitalism! /s) are scary enough without having to resort to myths like the ones the police spread.


And those are designed to penetrate skin. The pills? Notsomuch.


The facts don’t really matter - cops will continue pretending like it’s real, and copaganda shows on TV will probably still feature it in storylines (although they might have a skeptical character).

Actually they are - there are all sorts of news reports about cops “collapsing” after having touched suspected fentanyl packages - it’s pure hysteria, for the most part.


Oh I’m sure the cops TELL the story that way, absolutely. I’m just denying that they’re telling the truth about what caused it because they can’t tell the truth (in general) and won’t tell the truth: They do the drugs they seize, just like they take the property they seize.


Also it’s not pronounced “fen-ten-awl”. Sigh.


The placebo effect also plays into this, I suspect. They’ve been warned about the dangers of accidental exposure, and so the first time it happens, they just panic, and then that makes them think they’re having symptoms due to the exposure, and then it just snowballs, and they just faint and collapse. And then that just reinforces the myth in their minds and the minds of every officer who witnessed it. Positive feedback loop in hyperdrive.


The nocebo effect, yeah, definitely. To the point where it’s like the “mass hysteria” outbreaks normally seen in teenage girls, where groups feed off social cues to drive themselves into psychogenic illness.

It’s not just that they tell it - they’re on video collapsing during drug searches and then their alarmed colleagues give them naloxone or whatever to “counteract” a drug that’s not in their system (as toxicology eventually reveals). There are also a lot of cops doing drugs, and some of them may be blaming accidental exposure when caught, but there’s a whole phenomenon of cops thinking they’ve been exposed to fentanyl when they haven’t, hysteria sets in, and they faint or give themselves some other condition.


The government control freaks love nothing more than manufacturing a crisis than can only be solved with more laws, more regulation and less freedom.


This “nocebo” effect was also observed in Tokyo metro train users following the Sarin nerve gas attack by Aum Shinrikyo in 1995.


government isn’t a monolith. and some freedoms need support via regulation to exist in any meaningful way. so just because cops are lying about “exposure” doesn’t make all regulation bad.

moreover, actual fentanyl deaths are a real crisis, and government does need to be involved to fix it. ( decriminalization and treatment - even if it scares the pants off most politicians. also putting the sacklers in jail please. )

another one cops like to push is “excited delirium” - also not a thing that happens. ( “i feared for my life”? also extremely suspect most of the time )


Patches would have some sort of permeation/absorption enhancers added(I’m not even going to pretend to know anything useful about the details; but going by the papers on the topic it looks like there has been a lot of futzing with techniques for coaxing drugs through inadequately permeable membranes; not generally a feature one gets purely by accident); which presumably makes contact with them a lot more dramatic.

Wouldn’t be a total surprise if some street fentanyl, somewhere, has been derived from salvaging diverted patches and had punchier than usual absorption; but that seems pretty late in the supply chain to make a diversion; and unlikely to be typical.