How dangerous is fentanyl? Skin contact can kill

Colorado man allegedly left deadly drug in public

NEW YORK -- How much worse is fentanyl than heroin? So dangerous, a Lakewood, Colorado man saw his bail doubled, after lab tests confirmed the drug seized during his arrest was fentanyl rather than heroin.

Authorities in Manhattan say they arrested and charged Carlos Ramirez on June 19 with possessing millions of doses of the powerful synthetic opioid.

According to the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York, agents found 17 packages of the drug in a duffel bag on top of a hotel vending machine. The wrapping on one package was punctured and officers could see a powdery substance resembling heroin inside.

But this was not heroin. According to DEA officials, fentanyl is about 50 times more powerful than heroin and is often mixed into drugs distributed throughout the nation.

“A fatal dose of fentanyl is only two to three milligrams," DEA Special Agent in Charge James Hunt said. 

The drug can cause overdoses just through skin contact. There have been mutiple reports of police hospitalized after contact with the drug. Tragically, in June, a 10 year old boy in Miami died after suspected skin contact with fentanyl.

This week, President Donald Trump's drug commission called on him to declare a national emergency to deal with the country's opioid drug epidemic.

Among the recommendations is providing money for federal agencies to develop sensors that can detect fentanyl.

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