Can mishandling morphine or controlled substance cause a false positive?

Nurses General Nursing


Does anyone know to what degree if any mishandling a controlled substance can cause a false positive? I was counting narcotics at the beginning of my shift, and like a dummy I touched the outside of the bottle which had leaked when trying to confirm the amount. I immediately washed my hands, but wanted to know if that limited contact could cause a false positive. I was in a hurry and just picked up the bottle.


I would say very very unlikely

Specializes in ICU, LTACH, Internal Medicine.

Unless you licked your fingers or, say, picked your nose with them, I would say no way in the world due to pharmacology. Opioids - all of them - are difficult to absorb through intact skin. That's why so far there is only Duralgesic patch on market despite of multitude of efforts to design better opioid delivery systems and many benefits of skin absorbtion as delivery pathway.

Multiple instances of people, for example police officers and other first responders, suffering acute poisoning after contact with opioids, mostly fentanyl and carfentanyl, were caused by contact with mucoids (smelling, tasting, inhaling, exposure to fine powders, not washing hands, etc) and could be prevented by using PPE like N95 masks, gloves and disposable paper suit

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