Marjorie Taylor Greene Says You Can Get Fentanyl Poisoning From Car Doors

Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Green claimed in a tweet this week that fentanyl poisoning has become so common, "it's in your family group text."

In her tweet, Greene shared a screenshot of what appeared to be a group family chat. In it, the members were discussing how someone they knew had needed to go to the emergency room after touching a car door handle that had been laced with fentanyl.

"Fentanyl poisonings aren't just something you see on the news, it's now so common, it's in your family group text," she tweeted. "No one is safe. Over 300 people are dying everyday bc the Biden admin refuses to secure our border."

Fentanyl is an opioid painkiller that is highly addictive and much more potent than heroin or morphine. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 59 percent of opioid-related fatalities involved fentanyl in 2017.

According to Greene's tweet, which includes a screenshot of a group chat where an unknown person discusses the event that happened to an unnamed friend, a man was allegedly poisoned from fentanyl on his car door handle.

"Be careful getting in and out of cars ... our neighbor, was in Dalton today at tjmaxx/schlotskys and could have died," the screenshot attached to the tweet read. "His car handle was laced with fentanyl. He went to ER and they traced it to his car handles."

marjorie taylor greene and a car handle
Stock images of a green car door handle (left) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (right). In a recent tweet, the Georgia senator claimed that it's possible to get fentanyl poisoning from a car door laced with the drug. iStock / Getty Images Plus / Mario Tama

However, the majority of evidence suggests that fentanyl cannot be absorbed into the body via unbroken skin. The only case in which fentanyl can be absorbed through the skin is with a fentanyl skin patch, which takes hours of exposure even then.

"There is no empirical or clinical evidence that merely touching fentanyl would lead to an overdose or poisoning," Kelly E. Dunn, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University, told Newsweek.

"An important context to consider is that fentanyl has been used in medical settings for decades. If this was a true risk we'd have heard about it at some point in the past. The fact that fentanyl is more potent than other opioids does not mean it can confer effects (euphoric, overdose or otherwise) by touching it. I am comfortable stating there is no credible evidence of this effect."

According to Joseph J. Palamar, an associate professor at NYU Langone Health, overdosing from touching fentanyl or merely being in the presence of fentanyl has been a myth for some time.

"We've been hearing a lot about this with respect to police officers being exposed. I don't think the cases we hear about of officers 'overdosing' on fentanyl by merely touching it are lies," Palamar told Newsweek.

"I just think that something else might have happened, perhaps psychologically, but we won't know for sure without toxicological evidence. I feel horrible when I hear that an officer passed out after touching fentanyl and then there's a backlash on social media attacking the police for providing misinformation. The officers truly believed they were exposed and that's a scary situation. This situation would be just as scary for your average citizen. We need to do a lot more research on this potent drug and we need to do our best to educate the public about it."

According to the CDC, fentanyl can enter the body via wounds on the hands, or via inhalation, as it requires some way to enter the bloodstream. Additionally, if someone were to get fentanyl on their hands and transfer it to their nose or mouth, or another wound, then theoretically they could be poisoned by the drug if enough of it entered their system.

Depending on a person's body size, tolerance and past usage, two milligrams of fentanyl can be lethal, according to the DEA.

"I'm worried that situations like this are leading to separate streams of information, largely divided by politics. We need the general public, the police, and public health experts to be able to trust each other with regard to shared information about fentanyl and drugs in general," Palamar said.

Newsweek has reached out to Greene for comment.

Correction 10/19/22 9.58 a.m. ET: This article has been corrected to make it clear the relationship between Greene and the people in the screenshot chat is not known.