Although drug overdose unlikely, wiping off shopping carts still a good idea

LEACHVILLE, Ark. (KXAN/WCMH) — Mostly, those wet wipes provided at grocery stores to wipe off your cart handles will help kill any germs nearby. However, a post circulating on Facebook suggests it could also help prevent something more sinister, though experts say that’s unlikely.

A police department in Arkansas posted on Facebook warning people that drugs such as fentanyl or a similar substance can enter into your system from contact with your hands.

“I don’t normally copy and paste but I thought this needs to get out to all,” the post stated. “I normally don’t wipe the handles off the carts but I definitely will do so now.”

Chris Hoyt, a professor of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado hospital told KUSA that while one milligram of fentanyl in its powder form is enough to cause an overdose, the chances of a person coming in contact with the drug in a space like a grocery store are very slim.

“If you just happen to walk by them, it’s very, very, very unlikely that you’re going to get sick that way,” Hoyt said.

Lt. Scott Reed from the Multi-County Narcotics and Violent Crimes Unit in St. Louis tells NBC affiliate WKYC, if someone had enough fentanyl in their system to the point where it would transfer from their skin, they would probably be unconscious or dead. Reed says they would probably be too high to get out of their car, grab a cart, and go shopping.

Exposure to fentanyl can be extremely dangerous, especially for children. In September, a 12-year-old Columbus boy died after coming into contact with the drug. In May, an Ohio police officer overdosed when he accidentally touched the substance following an arrest of someone for what officials believed was a drug transaction.

 

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