How many of us have heard that you can suffer a fentanyl overdose through absorption? Guess what, it’s not true. Well, what about the fentanyl derivatives? Also, not true. Christopher Moraff, journalist and independent researcher, gathered heroin and cocaine samples in Philadelphia, PA twice a week for a year. 80% of these samples test positive for the presence of fentanyl. Moraff never wears protection when gathering the samples. And, well, Moraff has not overdosed on fentanyl.

The false mindset around fentanyl overdose has run wild through our medical and legal systems. Massachusetts has banned all court room exhibits that contain fentanyl out of fear of the samples becoming airborne and overdosing individuals in the area. Police officers are wearing gloves and masks to avoid fentanyl overdose, even reportedly going as far as wearing hazmat suits during drug raids. All because of an anecdotal report that aerosolized and skin contact fentanyl have made cops and nurses sick and required Narcan.

Toxicologists that work with fentanyl state that these concerns are completely misguided and that you cannot overdose from fentanyl and that worst-case scenario, you MIGHT get a mild high. Experts suggest that something called the nocebo effect is at play. This is a phenomenon that thinking a substance is harmful leads the exposed person to experience negative side effects. Keep in mind, pharmaceutical companies spent millions of dollars developing a patch that delivers the drug through the skin.

Now, I am not saying I wouldn’t wear gloves if I came in contact with the substance because I would. Just keep in mind, all of these anecdotal reports of overdose have proven completely unfounded.