Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid drug commonly used as a pain reliever that is considered to be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and has a much quicker onset of action. Despite certain medical benefits, fentanyl is a highly addictive drug that has serious health consequences. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 150 people die daily due to improper use of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.
Common dangers associated with fentanyl:
- Addiction: Fentanyl is highly addictive, and users can quickly develop a tolerance to the drug, requiring higher doses to achieve the same effect.
- Illicit use: Fentanyl is often mixed with other drugs, such as heroin or cocaine, without the user's knowledge, making it even more dangerous.
- Overdose: Fentanyl is one of the leading causes of drug overdoses in the United States. Even a small amount of fentanyl can cause an overdose, and the risk of overdose increases when fentanyl is mixed with other drugs or alcohol.
- Death: Fentanyl can cause respiratory depression, which can lead to death. In 2021, fentanyl accounted for 67,325 preventable deaths, a 26% increase over the previous year.
Fentanyl has become increasingly popular in the black market due to its potency, affordability, and availability. It’s cheaper to produce than other opioids and has become an attractive option for drug dealers looking to maximize profits, mixing it with cocaine, heroin, and other common drugs like oxy and Xanax. Since fentanyl is difficult to dose properly (42% of counterfeit pills were found to contain at least 2 milligrams, considered a lethal dose), this creates a deadly combination that can be difficult for users to detect.