What Is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a powerful opioid pain medication, many times stronger than morphine and heroin. Usually, fentanyl is prescribed for post-surgery discomfort or intense, short-term painful conditions. It’s also prescribed to treat pain associated with cancer, terminal illness, or patients who have built up a tolerance to other opiate-based medications. Fentanyl is about 100 times more powerful than morphine, and about 50 times stronger than heroin, so it’s not commonly prescribed for long-term pain management.
Fentanyl abuse is widespread in our current society and it’s not only relegated to opioid addicts. The drug is being found mixed into almost every drug on the street, whether it be heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, fake Xanax, or other counterfeit pills. Mixing fentanyl with other drugs can cause intense drowsiness, respiratory depression or arrest, unconsciousness, coma, addiction, and death.
Fentanyl is also abused by itself. For years, addicts have extracted it from patches and injected, snorted, or smoked the drug but currently, we’re in a new era of fentanyl and fentanyl abuse. It’s not just diverted prescription medication that’s hitting towns across the country. It’s synthetically-created analogues, or alterations, of fentanyl that are created in labs in China and imported by the kilo into the United States. And it’s these forms of fentanyl that are currently responsible for most of the overdose deaths in this country.