What is Fentanyl?
By: SOL Recovery Center 14 Jun 2016

You might be wondering, “What is fentanyl, exactly?”

A surge in opiate-related deaths would probably get the average person to think that heroin and morphine usage has increased. As luck would have it, this is not the case. Fentanyl is a prescription opiate – same class of drugs as morphine and heroin – used as a painkiller, or a tranquilizer. Fentanyl is not only more dangerous than its other, more notorious counterparts but it just so happens to look exactly like heroin. This fact makes it possible for drug dealers to sell it to their unsuspecting customers who are expecting heroin, only to be greeted with shock, and possibly a visit to their nearest emergency room.

As it turns out, the cost to manufacture this deadly drug is much cheaper than its other opioid relative, heroin. Not only is it sold by itself, but also some drug dealers see it more profitable to mix both fentanyl and heroin, which is especially dangerous for unknowing users. The number of seizures increased by 800% over a two-year period – 2012-2014 – nationally. 
Fentanyl overdoses have become more widespread, at least since the year 2014, when a drug test was created to distinguish between fentanyl and heroin. It was then discovered that fentanyl-related deaths were more prominent than heroin-related ones in certain states. This means that prior to the development of this test, there might have been many deaths attributed to heroin that could have very well been due to fentanyl.

The craze of mixing fentanyl with other drugs is becoming more popular among drug dealers, and thus, users are at an even greater risk, buying street drugs. Not only has fentanyl been found to be combined with heroin, but it has been uncovered that drug dealers see it fit to mix it with marijuana, ecstasy, and even Xanax.

What is Fentanyl? The Sad Reality

Among addicts, the more dangerous a drug, the more powerful are its effects and the more tempting it is to try. With a mindset such as this, it is no wonder that fentanyl – separate and aside from drug dealers sneaking it into drug mixes – is so popular within the addicted community, more specifically, the opioid users. Fentanyl has been found to be 100 times more powerful than morphine – another opioid analgesic – on its own, so try to fathom how much the danger is multiplied when combined with another drug.

What is Fentanyl? Progress Made

It has been a struggle to control the extent of the fentanyl crisis. The spotlight first came upon fentanyl in 2006, prompted by the National Drug Intelligence Center. As previously stated, it wasn’t until years after this fact, however – 2014 – that law enforcement saw the inclusion of tests to detect fentanyl in criminal cases. It was added to the federal list by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in 2015.

Controlling the entry of fentanyl-laced cases of heroin, and fentanyl itself via the borders of U.S. and Mexico, and U.S. and Canada are of utmost importance if this war against fentanyl is to be contained nationally. The authorization of trying fentanyl-related drug cases in court with steeper penalties would act help to curtail the spread of the drug. Dealers and sellers would think twice if the charges had stricter consequences.

The devastation already caused by this deadly drug is quickly getting worse, and gaining a mind of its own. Therefore, it is pertinent to increase public knowledge about the drug, and its dangers so that people can have the answer to the question, “What is fentanyl?”

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