The Dangers of Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. Two types of fentanyl primarily contribute to fatal and nonfatal overdoses in the US: synthetic fentanyl and fentanyl manufactured in the illegal route is all considered a synthetic opioid.

The drug fentanyl is prescribed by doctors to treat severe pain, especially after surgery, and advanced cancer. But more recent fentanyl-related overdose cases involve illegally manufactured fentanyl, which is distributed through illegal drug markets for similar effects of heroin, which is often combined with other drugs because of its extreme potency.

It makes the drug cheaper, harder, more addictive, more dangerous and more deadly. An article on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website details the facts about fentanyl. Please read it here: Both types of this drug are considered synthetic opioids. It is often combined with other drugs because of its extreme potency.

Illegally manufactured fentanyl

Illegally manufactured fentanyl (IMF) is available in the pharmaceutical market in various forms such as liquid and powder.

Crude fentanyl is like many other drugs. Drugs such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and other prescription opioids are often mixed into synthetic pills laced with fentanyl and it is extremely dangerous, and many people may not know that fentanyl is in their pills.

In liquid form, IMF is found in nasal sprays, eye drops, and poured on paper or candy baskets. Illegal drugs do not provide a list of ingredients. Many have lethal doses of fentanyl. Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are the drugs most commonly used in human overdoses. Even small doses can be fatal. More than 150 people die every day from overdoses involving fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. There are lethal doses of fentanyl in medicine, and you can see, taste and smell it. It is nearly impossible to know if fentanyl is laced in the pills unless you test your pills with fentanyl test strips. Test strips are inexpensive and typically give results within 5 minutes, which can be the difference between life or death. Be careful even if the test is negative because the test strip may not detect more potent fentanyl-like drugs such as carfentanil. Fentanyl with Xylazine is an emerging threat in the United States. Xylazine, an animal tranquilizer, is gaining popularity in the U.S. in the supply of illegal drugs and has been linked to overdose deaths. Xylazine can be life-threatening and is especially dangerous when combined with fentanyl and other opioids.

Recognizing signs of opioid overdose can save lives. Here are some things to look for:

  • Miniature “pinpoint pupils”
  • Drowsiness or confusion
  • Slow or sluggish breathing
  • Gulping or gurgling sound
  • Lame body
  • Moist/dry skin
  • Dry skin especially on lips and nails

What to do if you suspect someone is overdosing

It can be difficult to tell if someone is overdosing. If you don’t know for sure, treat it like an overdose- you can save a life.

  • Call 911 immediately
  • Administer Naloxone if available (Naloxone is a life-saving medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. It is available in all 50 states and can be purchased over the counter in most states.)
  • Try to get the person to sleep and rest
  • Stay with the person until help arrives