Fentanyl is an extremely powerful synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin and up to 100 times stronger than morphine.
Pharmaceutical fentanyl can be used as a prescription for severe pain, or for people who have a high tolerance to other opioids. Fentanyl is sometimes known by the names Actiq® or Duragesic® and the methods of use can be as a fentanyl patch, lozenges, or an injectable shot.
All of the legal fentanyl prescriptions are safe for use because they are supervised or administered by a doctor and the doses are carefully regulated.
Unfortunately, illegal or illicit fentanyl is manufactured in labs, often in China or Mexico, with no medical oversight, and available in a wide range of variations such as liquids, powders, or mixed into pills that resemble other prescription drugs.
On the street, dealers will add these forms of illegal fentanyl to other substances like heroin, meth, cocaine, and opioids to amplify their strength.
Fentanyl has been found pressed into xanax and other pills that are not related to opioids. Unsuspecting users or dealers have no idea what they are actually buying or selling until it’s too late and a fatal overdose happens.
Because fentanyl is many times more powerful than heroin, it only takes a very small amount to cause a deadly overdose. In fact, fentanyl is so potent that many overdose victims cannot be revived with a single dose of Narcan (Naloxone) that has been used to counteract heroin overdoses.
In recent years, fentanyl flooded the market to fill the demand caused by the heroin and opioid epidemic because it is cheaper and easier to manufacture.
Now that fentanyl is being mixed with almost all types of illegal drugs, it is not safe to take any substances purchased on the street without the risk of a fatal overdose.
This makes it crucial for everyone dependent to any type of drug to seek addiction treatment as soon as possible to avoid an accidental overdose that may prove to be fatal.
It’s a totally different world today for anyone with a substance use disorder and the stakes have never been higher.