From 1999 to 2015, 300,000 people in the United States died as a result of opioid overdoses; 33,000 of those deaths occurred in 2015. The sudden spike in opioid related deaths in 2015 was primarily related to a rise in the use of fentanyl. Because of this sudden spike, first responders are more likely to respond to incidents involving fentanyl. Fentanyl can be absorbed through the skin and is 50-100 times more potent than morphine, putting many first responders at risk of a fatal contact overdose. Existing technologies are bulky, expensive and have short operating times, leading to use mainly for identifying unknown substances. There is a critical need for a miniaturized sensor for fentanyl compounds to provide early warning of exposure. Accordingly, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) partnered with Vaporsens to develop a wearable sensor for continuous personnel monitoring for exposure to fentanyl.
Bilayer Nanofibers as Wearable Sensors for Detecting Fentanyl Fact Sheet