Home Interviews THMG083 – Fentanyl, Part I: Interview with Toby Frost

THMG083 – Fentanyl, Part I: Interview with Toby Frost


In this episode, we discuss synthetic opioids like fentanyl with Toby Frost.

Complete Show Notes

1:30 Introduction to Toby Frost

  • Captain at Lafayette FD in Indiana and team leader on the hazmat team
  • Does technical rescue, underwater rescue, and much more
  • Teaching several classes – includes topics like meth labs, synthetic drug labs, and training ideas

2:15 Latest Trends in the Drug World

  • We don’t hear about meth as much, but law enforcement is continuing to seize meth labs and busting people manufacturing meth
  • Gray death and pink death are some popular synthetic opioid cocktails – includes fentanyl mixed with heroin
  • U47700 – synthetic cannabinoid (opioid) that’s 7.5 times as strong as morphine – this is being sold on the street
  • People buying drugs on the street don’t always know how strong the drugs are, which is part of why there are so many overdoses – no idea when they’re going to get a “hot” load
  • We’re seeing a lot of imported meth showing up in big cities – heroin is much cheaper than meth and much easier to get in some places
  • Dealers are packing cylinders with benzene and using that to make synthetic drugs
  • EMS and hazmat teams are seeing a huge influx of heroin mixed with fentanyl and carfentanyl
  • People keep tweaking recipes to ensure what they’re manufacturing and selling is legal – they do this every time a substance is made illegal

9:15 Dealing with Fentanyl

  • When law enforcement officers enter mixing and pill-pressing operations without wearing PPE, they can overdose – carfentanyl is absorbed transdermally
  • Toby recommends wearing encapsulated Level B or Level A PPE to make sure you’re fully protected
  • Fentanyl overdoses are similar to heroin overdoses – DEA recommends response teams carry Narcan with them to keep victims alive until they’re at the hospital
  • Lethal dose of carfentanyl (100 times stronger than regular fentanyl) is less than 3 micrograms – smaller than a grain of salt or sand
  • Many of these drugs were shelved by pharmaceutical companies because they didn’t have value to humans – many people manufacturing fentanyl (especially in places like China) are trained scientists
  • These drugs are difficult to deal with because there aren’t any scientific studies out there – hard to know what we’re dealing with

15:40 Thoughts on the Future of Fentanyl

  • People are getting caught because there’s been such a massive increase in overdoses – law enforcement can trace patterns back to labs
  • However, when you buy fentanyl in places like China, it becomes much harder to track – they even go so far as to sell fentanyl at trade shows as a “research chemical”
  • Flakka comes in a bunch of different colors – it’s all the same drug, but the people making it will add whatever color you want
  • People could start using powdered forms of fentanyl to kill large amounts of people at once in crowded areas
  • Toby worries about responders walking into mixing operations and getting toxic exposures – even responders can die from exposure to some of these drugs – there have been several cases of this recently
  • There’s no quick way of identifying some of these drugs – blister packs cops generally use don’t work
  • Some substances aren’t in meter libraries yet, which poses another problem, even if you’re using more expensive technologies

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