A Tennessee sheriff issued an alert Thursday about two instances of people finding money contaminated with potentially deadly drugs. The incidents happened in Perry County and after the sheriff announced the news, the sheriff in a neighboring county shared the advisory.
Perry County Sheriff Nick Weems told county residents of two incidents he considered of great concern to public safety.
“On both occasions, a folded dollar bill was found in the floor at a local gas station,” Weems explained in a post to the department’s Facebook account. “When it was found and picked up, the person discovered a white powdery substance inside. The substance was later tested and was positive for methamphetamine and fentanyl.”
“This is very dangerous, folks!”
Weems advised people to share the information and told parents to instruct their children not to pick up loose money they find on the ground. He informed constituents of his plans to push for legislation to increase punishment for people using money as a carrying pouch for such powerful illegal drugs.
“It enrages me as a father and the Sheriff, that people can act so carelessly and have no regard for others well-being, especially a child,” fumed Weeks. “I hope we find the ones responsible.”
Sheriff Kyle Helton of neighboring Giles County shared the advisory about dollar bills coated with methamphetamine and fentanyl found on gas station floors.
“Please share, and educate your children to not pick up any folded money they may find in or around businesses, playgrounds, etc., without using great caution and even alerting a parent or guardian,” Sheriff Helton said in a post to the department’s Facebook account.
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system and may be consumed through injection, snorting, pills or smoking.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that may be clinically prescribed to treat chronic, severe pain, according to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. The DEA describes fentanyl as similar to morphine but about 100 times more potent.
Former Pennsylvania Representative Tim Murphy said during a 2017 testimony in a congressional hearing on fentanyl that the drug is exceptionally dangerous because of its high potency and the speed with which it reaches the brain.
“Just two milligrams of fentanyl can kill, whether swallowed, inhaled, or absorbed through skin,” the former congressman testified. “To appreciate how small an amount two milligrams is, a sweetener packet at a restaurant table contains 1,000 milligrams.”