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  • Writer's pictureDahlia Foundation


What is fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid medicine used to treat moderate to severe pain, it is up to 100 times stronger than other opioids like morphine, heroin or oxycodone. Fentanyl is from the class of medicines called narcotic analgesics.

What is Fentanyl used for?

Fentanyl patches are used for long lasting pain relief for constant, around the clock cancer pain.

Fentanyl nasal sprays, lollipops, injections, sublingual tablets and sprays are immediate acting and used for breakthrough pain. Breakthrough pain is when you have a flare up of pain, even though you are taking regular pain medicine for chronic or persistent pain.

Because fentanyl is a powerful prescription opioid it can be misused, abused and cause overdose deaths.

Fentanyl is classified as schedule 2 under the controlled substances act (CSA).

Fentanyl overdose and abuse

Although fentanyl is a legal prescription drug used for pain control during surgery and for chronic or breakthrough cancer pain it is also being manufactured illegally or legal prescriptions are diverted and fentanyl is misused and abused as it is sold for its euphoric effects.

Street drugs like heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine can also be laced with fentanyl, also counterfeit drugs including hydrocodone tablets or Xanax.

Users may not realize the street drug they are buying from a dealer contains this potentially lethal compound.

Fentanyl test strips can be used to test if drugs have been laced with fentanyl.

Fentanyl is extremely potent, this means just 2 to 3 milligrams of this drug can lead to death due to respiratory depression (decreased breathing) which can quickly lead to coma and death.

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