Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.), a physician, dubiously claimed at the Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday that touching fentanyl on a dollar bill can kill you. (Watch the video below.)
That prompted a diagnosis of “idiocy” on Twitter.
“Every American in our country is at risk for this,” Green told the D.C.-area CPAC gathering in discussing the opioid crisis. “You pick up a dollar that’s got fentanyl on it and you’re dead.”
The claim about casual fatal contact with the synthetic opioid has been making the rounds and has been dismissed as a myth.
“You can’t overdose on fentanyl by touching a doorknob or dollar bill,” said Daniel Colby, co-medical director at UC-Davis Health’s Department of Emergency Medicine.
The notion also got fact-checked by the Poynter Institute’s PolitiFact, which concluded: “It’s physically impossible to overdose from touching a dollar bill laced with fentanyl.”
In Green’s home state, a woman claims to have overdosed on fentanyl by picking up a dollar bill at a Nashville McDonald’s last summer. But that anecdote proved highly suspect, the fact-checking site Snopes wrote.
“The risk of significant fentanyl exposure through skin contact is extremely low,” Dr. Todd Korthuis, professor of medicine at Oregon Health and Science University, told Snopes. “It’s important to correct this widely circulated myth.”
Some Twitter users prescribed a reality check for Green, a far-right ideologue with a history of homophobic comments who has been attempting to blame U.S. border policy for fentanyl’s spread: