Safeguarding First Responders against Fentanyl (Multi-Video)

Fentanyl, a synthetic opiate pain killer, if inhaled, can lead to respiratory arrest, is up to 50 times more potent than heroin, is extremely dangerous to law enforcement and anyone else who may come into contact with it.

Fentanyl, is being mixed with heroin to increase its potency, but dealers and buyers may not know exactly what they are selling or ingesting. Many users underestimate the potency of fentanyl.

Smiths Detection Inc. (SDI) is at the forefront of arming first responders with solutions to safeguard against the presence of fentanyl.

Working directly with international law enforcement and hazmat agencies, SDI has adapted a range of existing technologies to be able to quickly and accurately detect fentanyl and its analogues on scene.

DEA Fentanyl
Courtesy of the DEA

The dosage of fentanyl is a microgram, one millionth of a gram – similar to just a few granules of table salt.

Fentanyl can be lethal and is deadly at very low doses.

Fentanyl and its analogues come in several forms including powder, blotter paper, tablets, and spray.

As a result, it represents an unusual hazard for law enforcement.

DEA has released a Roll Call video to all law enforcement nationwide about the dangers and deadly consequences of improperly handling fentanyl. 

Acting Deputy Administrator Jack Riley and two local police detectives from New Jersey appear on the video to urge any law enforcement personnel who come in contact with fentanyl or fentanyl compounds to take the drugs directly to a lab. 

(‘FENTANYL – A Real Threat to Law Enforcement’, courtesy of the DEA, the Department of Justice, and YouTube)

It is prompting fears of a public health crisis and a threat to the safety of first responders who may not be aware of its presence during a response.

Canine units are particularly at risk of immediate death from inhaling fentanyl.

SDI has adapted three of its leading technologies to detect and identify fentanyl, including:

Target ID/HazMatID Elite

Target ID and HazMatID are infrared handheld chemical identifier performs chemical analysis on bulk amounts of solids and liquids, which may be used as court-admissible evidence.

Target-ID is the first fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy system developed specifically for field deployed narcotics identification that will be released in 10 language configurations.

  • Rapidly and accurately identifies narcotics, synthetic designer drugs, cutting agents, and common chemicals
  • Lightweight and portable for handheld operation
  • Pre-loaded library of up to 2,500 substances
  • Customizable and expandable user library
  • Utilizes proven FTIR technology
  • Intuitive user interface, minimal training required

(See in action, courtesy of Smiths Detection and YouTube)


The IONSCAN 600 is a cost-effective, lightweight, non-radioactive, highly sensitive, portable desktop ETD system for both explosives and narcotics detection.

  • Used in airports, corrections facilities and security checkpoints across the world, this portable system detects invisible amounts of narcotics like fentanyl, and explosives, in seconds.
  • Non-radioactive IMS source
  • Easy to use interface requires minimal training

(Learn More, courtesy of Smiths Detection and YouTube)


ACE-ID is a handheld, non-contact chemical identifier, utilizing laser Raman technology which allows users to test bulk quantities of unknown substances without contact, including through plastic and glass.

  • Orbital Raster Scan (ORS) technology diffuses Raman laser energy to reduce the risk of heating/igniting explosives
  • Rapidly identifies solids, liquids, gels and powders
  • Proprietary mixture analysis software enables identification of up to two components within sample
  • Integration software kit for remote operation and report generation
  • Compact, robust and lightweight
  • Easy to use, intuitive, graphical interfaces and requires minimal training
  • MIL-STD-810G certified for use in harsh conditions and high temperatures.

(See in action, courtesy of Smiths Detection and YouTube)

The technologies were designed to complement each other in response scenarios but can work independently.

SDI also enhanced its ReachBackID 24/7 hotline to give first responders using these technologies access to Ph.D. scientists to support the field-based analysis of fentanyl and several of its analogues.

smiths detection logo“The new fentanyl threat to first responders is real and severe since accidental contact with- or inhalation-of very small amounts can be life threatening,” explains Shan Hood, Vice President of Product & Technology for Smiths Detection.

“The right technology can help first responders make better informed decisions about how best to protect themselves from fentanyl and its analogues during emergencies.”

Learn More…

Urgent DEA Police Warning: Minute Fentanyl Exposure Kills (Videos)