Unlike many other types of clandestine drug labs, remediation involving fentanyl facilities does not often involve significant amounts of liquid chemicals, chemical waste or residues. This is largely because much of the North American supply of fentanyl is made and shipped from overseas.
Pills & Powder
Fentanyl is available commercially as a patch but is generally encountered as either a powder or a pill on the recreational market. Because fentanyl is so potent it is almost always cut or mixed with other drugs or with filler powders before it makes its way onto the street. After they have been cut, these drugs may then be sold in powder form or processed further using capsules or a tablet press.
The waste left behind by the process of cutting, encapsulating and pressing pills is generally limited to a fine powder. This powder is easily aerosolized and is often distributed throughout the production area. It is also possible to find fentanyl contamination in areas outside the lab, where dust particles on skin and clothing may be transferred onto carpets and walls.
Fentanyl may also be encountered in other clandestine facilities as it is often used as an additive by drug producers looking to increase the potency or reduce the price of their product. Drug enforcement agents often assume and treat any powder encountered inside a production facility to be fentanyl until proven otherwise.
Remediation crews wear full-face respirators, hoods, suits and gloves in order to prevent the inhalation and transfer of fine particulates during the remediation process. The risks associated with physical exposure and inhalation, combined with the ease of exposure, make the use of personal protective equipment essential to working inside a fentanyl processing facility.
With fentanyl use on the rise, more and more labs and production facilities are encountered every day. Remediation poses unique difficulties due to the nature of the drug and how it is being used. For more information on fentanyl remediation and your situation, contact us online or by phone at (888) 801-0911.