Fentanyl stickers raising concerns in Wood County

Photo by Jess Mancini From left, Wood County Sheriff Steve Stephens shows Prosecutor Pat Lefebure Fentanyl-laced filing stickers found during a recent investigation. The stickers are placed in the mouth to allow the opioid to enter into the body.

PARKERSBURG — Authorities in Wood County are alerting residents and agencies of the discovery of Fentanyl-laced stickers used in office filings.

“These things are dangerous,” Wood County Sheriff Steve Stephens said. “(Fentanyl) is what people are overdosing on.”

The sheriff’s department discovered the stickers during an investigation and had them analyzed, Stephens said. The results were returned on Thursday and the tests were positive for Fentanyl, a narcotic 100 times more potent than morphine, he said.

It is the first time he has seen the Fentanyl-laced stickers. Stephens on Thursday alerted other agencies.

The issue is health and safety for police officers who may find and touch them, thinking they are ordinary file stickers, he said.

Photo by Jess Mancini On the left is an evidence bag with file stickers laced with Fentanyl, a narcotic more potent than morphine. At right are common file stickers that are not laced. Wood County Sheriff Steve Stephens said if kids find tainted stickers, they might think they are toys and come in contact with the powerful opioid.

But more than police officers, other people can come in contact and unknowingly touch the narcotic, such as postal workers, those involved in corrections and particularly children who may find them and think they are play toys, Stephens said.

“Just putting it on their skin can cause problems,” Stephens said. “They don’t have to put it in their mouth.”

The sticker is put in the mouth or on the tongue where the potent Fentanyl is released into body, he said.

“You just sit there and get high off it, or kill yourself,” he said.

Such was the case with a recent overdose where a portion of a sticker was found in the person’s mouth under his tongue by responders who at the time didn’t know what it was, Stephens said. That person survived, he said.

Prosecutor Pat Lefebure and Sgt. Jim Mills, commander of the narcotics task force, also have not before seen the stickers.

Not saying that it has happened, but a concern is the tainted stickers could be a method to get a narcotic into a jail, Lefebure said. Someone examining the contents of letters or papers to an inmate would see the sticker, believe it is part of a filing system and let it go through.

“This might be an easy way to get it in there,” Lefebure said.