NEED HELP NOW?  800.634.0261

Infection Control News

Clandestine drug operations can produce an interesting mix of pharmaceutical hazards; in many cases, the quantity and percentage of narcotics and/or products the drugs are cut with are unknown. This is what happened when the Infection Control Technologies team took an interesting call.

Infection Control Technologies, a division of Insurance Restoration Specialists, Inc. (IRS), responds to some of the most gruesome and dangerous situations from crime scenes. When the call came in to respond to a site where, by accident, a bag of heroin broke, IRS learned the dust from the package had gone airborne at a local police facility. IRS immediately went to the American Bio Recovery Association’s (ABRA) Bio Recovery Site Assessment Risk Assessment document or BSRA for short. It outlined response protocols for personal protective equipment (PPE) containment and decontamination and appropriate monitoring of the space for proper negative pressure. Knowing that today’s narcotics can be full of synthetic opioids and analogs of Fentanyl, the team assumed that the worst had occurred. Luckily for the personnel at the police department, nobody took on direct exposure.

Fentanyl and its analogs are responsible for the overdose epidemic that has seen a tremendous spike in recent years. Small amounts of Fentanyl, via varying routes of exposure, can cause an overdose and death, especially to people with low tolerance. In spite of that, the product is so potent that it is being sent right though varying shipping options in tiny amounts, including the United States Postal Service. If there is a release from a clandestine lab or packaging, dust from these operations can cross-contaminate a structure and be extremely difficult to remediate. On top of that, coverage from a Homeowners or Property Insurance policy can be sketchy.

Our team performed detailed containment, HEPA vacuuming, surface treatment and removal of soft materials such as cushions, office furniture and carpet. IRS treated this situation as an unknown product and put their trained employees into the recommended PPE and 3 stage decontamination system. It was a good thing that we took these precautions and conservative methods were taken as subsequent analytical results did indeed indicate the presence of Synthetic Opioid Analogs including Fentanyl and Heroin. When the project was finished, an independent Certified Industrial Hygienist was brought in to sample to perform testing to verify completion. Waste generated from the site was sent for incineration.

Risk does not stop at the crime scene. First Responders must be extremely careful to mitigate risk from Bloodborne Pathogens to Hazardous substances like illicit narcotics – these types of contaminants can follow you all the way to your home, to your loved ones, and, hopefully not, to your final resting place.

With over 25 OSHA Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response, Blood Borne Pathogens, Confined Space Entry Trained Technicians we can respond when others cannot or should not. Insurance Restoration Specialists and its infection control team also has over six American Bio Recovery Association Certified Bio Recovery Technicians lead by a Certified Bio Recovery Master (CBRM) and American Board of Industrial Hygiene. (ABIH) Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH).

Infection Control Technologies, (ICT) a division of Insurance Restoration Specialists, Inc. (IRS) is one of the nation’s leading Building Hygiene contractors. ICT provides Facility Hygiene Services and Emergency Decontamination for some of the nation’s most respected real estate and Risk Management Professionals, Health Care, Municipalities, Institutions, Food Safety, Transportation, and government organizations. ICT’s division manager is Certified Environmental Infection Control Remediator (CEICR) Tom Licker.