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Can someone overdose by touching something with fentanyl on it?

In a viral social media post a woman claims she had a reaction after touching a dollar bill she said she believed had fentanyl on it.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A woman went viral on social media for claiming she had a reaction to fentanyl after picking up a dollar bill outside a McDonald's restaurant. 

In her Facebook post, the woman said her body went completely numb after touching the dollar. She said she believes fentanyl was on the money and caused her reaction. 

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Can someone easily overdose by touching something that has fentanyl on it? 



This is false.

No, someone can not easily overdose by touching something that has fentanyl on it. However, you do need to make sure the opioid does not get into your mouth, nose, or eyes because then it can be dangerous. 

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The CDC describes fentanyl as a synthetic opioid that is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. 

In the medical setting, it is used as a pain reliever, but just like other opioids, it is also used illegally for recreational use. The American College of Medical Toxicology states inhalation is an exposure of most concern. When it comes to just touching the drug itself, Kohli said that's not something people should worry about. 

"The risk of fentanyl overdose of picking up a dollar off the street is incredibly low," Kohli said. 

The American College of Medical Toxicology states incidental skin absorption is unlikely to cause opioid toxicity. 

"From a dollar bill, it's really unlikely that those small concentrations that might have been present on the dollar bill would have led to an overdose," Kohli said. 

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