We report a fatal case of fentanyl poisoning in which the decedent apparently obtained the drug from a used transdermal patch removed from a deceased nursing home patient. Fentanyl drug patches, even those previously used, contain a potentially lethal amount of this potent narcotic analgesic and provide a source of fentanyl for drug abusers. This case demonstrates the importance of proper disposal of these drug patches and the need for strict policies and guidelines in patient care settings regarding their disposal. Since fentanyl derivatives may not be detected on routine toxicologic analysis, specific assays should be utilized for the detection of fentanyl in cases of suspected drug overdose.
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