On November 1, 2017, a Federal Interagency Working Group coordinated by the White House National Security Council released the new Fentanyl Safety Recommendations for First Responders as a resource for local jurisdictions. When conducting routine activities, law enforcement, fire, rescue, and emergency medical services personnel are increasingly likely to encounter fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that can be present in a variety of forms and is more powerful than heroin. The safety recommendations represent part of the Trump administration’s ongoing efforts to address the nationwide opioid epidemic and support the safety of first responders.

The recommendations include basic information on fentanyl, as well as actions first responders can take:

  • To protect themselves from exposure.
  • When they have been exposed to fentanyl.
  • When they or their partners exhibit the effects of exposure (i.e., slow breathing or no breathing; drowsiness or unresponsiveness; and constricted or pinpoint pupils).

These recommendations are based on unified, scientific evidence, with input from 10 federal agencies – including the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy – and 24 stakeholder associations and organizations.

To learn more about how first responders can prevent and treat exposure to fentanyl, download and read the guidelines. The Fentanyl Safety Recommendations for First Responders are also included in the final report from the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.

To learn about naloxone, an overdose reversal medication that is effective against fentanyl, visit the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Law Enforcement Naloxone Toolkit.