Police department removes Facebook post warning of fentanyl on shopping carts

Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:
Matt MacGillivray/ MGN

(WINK) Police in one Arkansas town warned shoppers to clean your shopping cart, not because of germs, but fentanyl.

In a Facebook post, which has since been deleted, from the Leachville Police Department said:

“Heard something today that’s so worth sharing. You know when you go to Wal-Mart and they have the wipes to clean your cart handle? How many of you don’t use them? Well I do and I always thought of the germs only. Was told today that the police chief also suggests you do it also because of all the problems with drugs now days and if they have Fentanyl or something like that still on their hands and they touch that cart handle and then you do, it can get into your system. Scary but worth taking the time to clean the handle. All you’d have to do is rub your nose or touch your child’s mouth. I never even considered this possibility. Children being exposed to just the powder or residue is a bad situation that can turn deadly.
Never thought about that. Copy and paste under your status let’s help keep everyone, especially our children and grandchildren safe.
I don’t normally copy and paste but I thought this needs to get out to all. I normally don’t wipe the handles off the carts but I definitely will do so now.”

Snopes calls “the likelihood of such a scenario is scientifically dubious…” The Snopes article, published Tuesday, continues to say “no evidence that law enforcement agencies have ever issued such a warning,” however, the next day the Leachville Police Department posted the warning. The post was then removed around 12:45 p.m. Thursday after gaining widespread attention.

The DEA has recently warned of black-market fentanyl saying it can be “absorbed through the skin or eyes, any substance suspected to contain fentanyl should be treated with extreme caution as exposure to a small amount can lead to significant health‐related complications, respiratory depression, or death,” in a warning to first responders on the dangers of fentanyl.

In one case, authorities in Miami believe a 10-year-old boy died of a fentanyl overdose after visiting a local pool earlier this year, according to AP. Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle says the boy could have simply touched the substance, explaining that it could have been on a towel at the pool.

Fentanyl is a far more potent opioid than heroin — 50 to 100 times stronger, according to the CDC. It was developed to treat intense pain like that in people suffering through the final stages of cancer, and can be obtained legally with a prescription, but it is being increasingly sold illicitly and mixed with heroin by dealers because it is cheaper.

But there is still debate and contradicting reports over the likelihood of overdosing on fentanyl. Toxicology experts raise concerns over claims by various agencies according to a recent interview with Slate, doubting it’s medically possible.

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