Lancaster, Ohio has recently put a temporary halt on field testing for drugs when examining a crime scene. This is in response to an incident reported in Connecticut last September, where 11 SWAT officers were all sickened after conducting a raid on a home. The officers threw a “flash-bang” device with the intent to stun anyone inside of the home, but instead, the explosion caused a high degree of fentanyl on a nearby table to go airborne.
Fentanyl is described by the CDC as a “rapid-acting opioid” that can alleviate pain without causing a loss consciousness. The drug can depress the central nervous system as well as a person’s respiratory functions. It is considered to be 80 times more potent than morphine, which is used as a medical anesthetic, and at least 100 times more potent than heroin. The drug, however, is not classified as a having a medicinal use, and is known only as a drug of abuse. When ingested, the drug severely inhibits a person’s ability to function. Fentanyl can be particularly dangerous because it can be absorbed through a variety of ways, including inhalation, oral ingestion, and even skin contact. It is classified as a Schedule I drug on both the federal and New Hampshire Drug Schedules.