We may be witnessing an Urban Legend in the making. There have been a rash of viral stories in the last few days warning the public to avoid picking up a folded dollar bill, should you find one in a public place.

You may see a lot of headlines about this in the following days.

In fact, two separate law enforcement agencies have issued warnings.  In Perry County, Tennessee the Sheriff's Department issued a warning where they claim two separate incidents were reported of folded money found on the floor of a gas station.  The money had traces of a white powdery substance.  When tested, the substance was found to contain methamphetamine and fentanyl.

The sheriff's department warned that merely coming into casual contact with this chemical can lead to serious health consequences, even death.

Similar stories have been picked up nationwide by Newsweek, and other radio stations, (Not owned By Townsquare Media).  This spread to localities in Alabama and Pennsylvania. The Sheriff's Department in Giles County, Tennessee even posted a photograph of a penny and a small amount of fentanyl powder that with the caption "the amount of powder next to this penny (if fentanyl laced) is more than enough to kill anyone it comes into contact with.

Photo by Leighann Blackwood on Unsplash
Photo by Leighann Blackwood on Unsplash

The problem with all these headlines is that they give the impression that this is a widespread threat that is growing nationwide.  The truth seeking website "Snopes" says that is not entirely true.

Snopes reports says the story of folded money has spread far and wide, they say they have no evidence yet that this threat extends beyond two very isolated incidents in Perry County, Tennessee. While fentanyl is a powerful opioid painkiller stronger than both morphine and heroine, it has become the subject of a media narrative that is making it seem much more lethal that it actually is.


We all know about popular Urban Myths that make the rounds every so often.  No doubt, you will see this dangerous folded dollar bill story making the rounds in media outlets over the next week or so.  When you do, know that, as of now, it is simply an isolated incident in Tennessee. Although there is always the possibility that someone will copycat this for whatever twisted reason in an attempt to keep this story going.

UPDATE 6/23/2022 This Week: A young toddler made an alarming discovery on an Alabama beach - a dollar bill stuffed with fentanyl. Family members say the 13 month old found the bill on a family trip to Orange Beach.  the bill was  folded and fentanyl was found inside. Fentanyl  can be potentially deadly when handled.

So while this is still rare, it is a good idea to avoid picking up bills that are folded on the ground.

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