A police department warning has gone viral throughout the Hudson Valley, but most people have no idea that it's based on completely false information.

Facebook is a great way to share important news quickly, but when that information is not even true it can cause more harm than good. Take, for example, the latest viral Facebook post that has Hudson Valley parents scared to death about an alleged plot to kill children by poisoning them with dollar bills.

The Giles County Sherriff's Office in Tennessee originally shared the post on June 9. It warns that folded-up dollar bills containing a deadly substance have been discovered on restroom floors. When picked up, the bills allegedly contained drugs that could kill anyone who simply touches it.

Facebook/Giles County Sherriff Department
Facebook/Giles County Sherriff Department

While this sounds terrifying, it's completely false.

Police departments throughout the country have been warning people about the dangers of an accidental fentanyl overdose. You have most likely heard claims from police about officers touching powdery substances and immediately becoming dizzy, unable to breathe, and collapsing. Much of this false information is attributed to a body cam video released by the San Diego County Police Department.

While the video is compelling, medical experts have concluded that it's completely false. According to doctors, not only is it virtually impossible to overdose on fentanyl just by touching it, the symptoms displayed in the video don't match those of someone overdosing.

This lie about police officers being in danger of dying from touching fentanyl has been repeated over and over again by law enforcement and reported on by the news media. Because of the hysteria over this urban legend, officers have been known to suffer panic attacks when coming in contact with powdered substances, causing them to feel like they've been drugged. It's a vicious cycle that only gets worse with false warnings like the one that has recently gone viral throughout the Hudson Valley.

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To be clear, medical experts say it's virtually impossible for anyone to suffer an overdose of fentanyl just by touching it. In fact, tests reveal that someone would have to be trapped in a room breathing an extremely high concentration of fentanyl in the air for over 200 minutes before even getting a therapeutic dose of the drug, not even coming close to overdosing from exposure.

The false rumors are similar to warnings that still exist about using cell phones while pumping gas. Even though it's been debunked, officials still warn consumers that they could explode if they use a phone while fueling up their cars. Just because something sounds plausible doesn't mean that it's true. Unfortunately, when police departments circulate rumors and urban legends like the deadly dollar bills, they take on a life of their own and become very difficult to stop.

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