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How to Avoid Accidental Ingestion and Overdose

For a fentanyl overdose to occur, the powder must enter the bloodstream and get to the brain.2 This is why it is important to avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth until you can wash your hands.  Fentanyl can also enter the bloodstream through cuts or wounds on the skin. Wounds must be open and visible to allow fentanyl to enter.

  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water to remove any substance from your hands.
  • If you begin to experience any adverse medical symptoms, seek medical attention.
  • Do not use hand sanitizers or bleach solutions to clean contaminated skin.

Reduce the Risk of Accidental Ingestion1,3 

Below are steps you can take in the event that you have fentanyl or a fentanyl analogs in your possession. The best way to reduce the risk of accidental ingestion is to avoid illicit substances and fentanyl altogether. 

  • Do not touch any powder thought to be fentanyl or any items that are possibly contaminated with fentanyl with bare hands. Wear nitrile gloves if such items must be handled. 
  • If skin comes in contact with powder, brush it off gently and wash the skin with soap and water. Avoid alcohol-based hand sanitizers until skin is washed with soap and water. Alcohol may increase absorption through skin. 
  • Prevent contact to the eyes by wearing a face shield or other similar level of protection, such as mask and goggles.
  • If airborne fentanyl is suspected, do not enter until it has been adequately ventilated (typically 24 hours). 
  • To prevent airborne fentanyl; do not use a vacuum, blow a fan on, or otherwise disturb an area that may contain fentanyl.

Safe Storage

  • Keep out of reach of children. Store fentanyl in a safe place so that no one else can use it accidentally or on purpose.
  • Use child-resistant locks.
  • Keep track of how much fentanyl is left, so you will know if any is missing.
  • Store fentanyl at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Do not freeze fentanyl.

Learn More about Safe Storage ›

1. Fentanyl Exposures and Cleanup.; 2019. Accessed November 1, 2022.
2. Fentanyl Safety for First Responders* BACKGROUND.; 2017.
3. National Library of Medicine. Fentanyl: MedlinePlus Drug Information. Published 2018.