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The illegally used fentanyl most often associated with recent overdoses is made in labs. This synthetic fentanyl is sold illegally as a powder, dropped onto blotter paper, put in eye droppers and nasal sprays, or made into pills that look like other prescription opioids.
Some drug dealers are mixing fentanyl with other drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and MDMA. This is because it takes very little to produce a high with fentanyl, making it a cheaper option. This is especially risky when people taking drugs don’t realize they might contain fentanyl as a cheap but dangerous additive. They might be taking stronger opioids than their bodies are used to and can be more likely to overdose.
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. It is a Schedule II prescription drug, and it is typically used to treat patients with severe chronic pain or to manage pain after surgery. It is also sometimes used to treat patients who are physically tolerant to other opioids. In its prescription form, fentanyl is known by such names as Actiq®, Duragesic®, and Sublimaze®. Street names include China Girl; China White; Apace; Poison; Goodfellas; and Tango & Cash.
“Fentanyl is everywhere. From large metropolitan areas to rural America, no community is safe from this poison. We must take every opportunity to spread the word to prevent fentanyl-related overdose death and poisonings from claiming scores of American lives every day.”
According to the CDC, 107,375 people in the United States died of drug overdoses and drug poisonings in the 12-month period ending in January 2022. A staggering 67 percent of those deaths involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Some of these deaths were attributed to fentanyl mixed with other illicit drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin, with many users unaware they were actually taking fentanyl. Only two milligrams of fentanyl is considered a potentially lethal dose; it’s particularly dangerous for someone who does not have a tolerance to opioids. (Source DEA webpage and NEDA webpage).
The Hazen Counseling Center on campus is a confidential resource to access information and support on drug abuse and addiction.
The DEA Fentanyl Fact sheet is found at: https://www.getsmartaboutdrugs.gov/sites/default/files/2021-08/Fentanyl-2020.pdf .
For more information refer to the following Website: https://www.dea.gov/fentanylawareness and https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/fentanyl