Police Warn ‘Wipe Down Shopping Carts,” But NOT Because of Germs

Some dangers can come from the most unexpected and downright bizarre places. That’s the warning about a new public health hazard coming from Florida police, but the good news is that there’s an easy solution.

NBC 8 WFLA reports that area police are warning residents to be sure that they wipe down the handlebar of any shopping cart before touching it. Now, this is a step many people probably take anyway to prevent catching whatever germs the last people who used the cart may have carried, but it seems authorities are concerned about the possibility of picking up something quite a bit more dangerous — potentially even fatal:

The department said drugs such as fentanyl or a similar substance can enter into your system from contact with your hands.

Exposure to fentanyl can be extremely dangerous, especially for children. Earlier this year a 10-year-old Miami boy died after coming into contact with the drug.

The advice comes from the Leachville Police Department’s Facebook page […]

Other drug task force leaders around the country have weighed in after seeing this story and said the chances of this happening are very slim, but why take the chance?

The Facebook post containing the original warning is no longer up, but here’s more information on the aforementioned child victim, courtesy of the Associated Press:

I]t’s unclear how fifth-grader Alton Banks came in contact with the drug.

Exposure to just tiny amounts can be devastating.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said during a news conference Tuesday afternoon that investigators don’t believe Alton got the dangerous opioid at his home.

She says the boy could have simply touched the substance, explaining that it could have been on a towel at the pool.

Investigators said Alton may been exposed to the drug on his walk home in the poor, high-crime neighborhood where Assistant Miami Fire Chief Pete Gomez said he has seen a spike in overdoses in the past year and where needles sometimes litter the streets.

Dear God. Can you imagine losing your child to one small, seemingly harmless moment like that?

Fortunately, the way to protect one’s self from such a fate is more than simple enough. The question, of course, is whether the average shopper will be attentive enough to remember to do it consistently, particularly during the rush of holiday shopping when most folks have more than enough on their minds as-is.