Fact check: Can you overdose from fentanyl on shopping cart handles?

(WHDH) – An Arkansas police department released a warning about potentially overdosing from fentanyl on shopping cart handles. However, some officials say the fear may be unfounded.

According to Fox 8, a now-deleted Facebook post by the Leachville Police Department in Arkansas urges people to wipe down a shopping cart with a disinfectant wipe in order to prevent overdosing from fentanyl. The post read:

“You know when you go to Wal-Mart and they have the wipes to clean your cart handle? How many of you don’t use them? Well I do and I always thought of the germs only. Was told today that the police chief also suggests you do it also because of all the problems with drugs now days and if they have Fentanyl or something like that still on their hands and they touch that cart handle and then you do, it can get into your system. Scary but worth taking the time to clean the handle. All you’d have to do is rub your nose or touch your child’s mouth. I never even considered this possibility. Children being exposed to just the powder or residue is a bad situation that can turn deadly.”

However, according Snopes, the fear is currently unproven.

“The likelihood of such a scenario is scientifically dubious and we can find no evidence that law enforcement agencies have ever issued such a warning,” the website wrote Tuesday, a day before the Leachville Police posted their warning. However, after having it up for about a day, the department deleted their post Thursday morning.

Some law enforcement agencies who say they are affected by the opioid epidemic said they have not seen any cases of someone overdosing from a shopping cart.

“I would say, use all the precautions you can for anything,” said Akron Police Lt. Rick Edwards to Fox 8. “Has it happened here? Not that we’re aware of. Could it happen? I’m sure it could. It’s not been reported, we’re not trying to put fear in people’s’ lives, but if the resources are available, and you could prevent anything from happening…use the preventative measures and wipe the cart off.”

According to the DEA, fentanyl can be “can be ingested orally, inhaled through the nose or mouth, or absorbed through the skin or eyes.” Even trace amounts of the drug can have deadly consequences for anyone who comes in contact with it. The agency also recommends that “any substance suspected to contain fentanyl should be treated with extreme caution as exposure to a small amount can lead to significant health-related complications, respiratory depression, or death.”

In July, a 10-year-old boy in Miami died from a fentanyl overdoseafter coming into contact with the powerful drug while at a neighborhood pool. Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle says the boy could have simply touched the substance, explaining that it could have been on a towel at the pool.

While no incidents of overdoses due to shopping carts have been reported, some officials say it could be possible, so you should still be careful.

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