What is Fentanyl? Why are people dying from it?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid similar to morphine, but far more powerful. It was developed to be used in anesthesia, pain management, and for breakthrough cancer pain. Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin, and 100 times more potent than morphine; making it an extremely dangerous drug when used without medical supervision and proper administration. Because of its intense strength, fentanyl is intended for use only to treat patients with severe or chronic pain. It comes in multiple forms including pills, tablets, lollipops (Actiq), patches and powder.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS?
Side effects of fentanyl use include:
- Slowed breathing and heart rate
- Nausea and vomiting
In early 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) labeled fentanyl the deadliest drug in America. According to a CDC report, in 2013 fentanyl was the drug found the least in overdose deaths compared to heroin, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. But by 2016, it was the leading drug found in overdose deaths.
Heroin laced with fentanyl is often illegally sold as pure heroin, posing an incredible risk of overdose to potential users.
CAN IT BE DETECTED IN A DRUG TEST?
Yes, Forensic Fluids Laboratories currently tests for over 130 different compounds, including fentanyl. It is our priority to provide the most accurate and up-to-date testing available. We are constantly working to identify and test for new, dangerous synthetic drugs that people are using. For a comprehensive list of all the compounds we test for download our drug list.