Fentanyl: Facts and FAQ
What is Fentanyl?
Opioid vs. Synthetic
Opioids are a class of drugs that are designed to reduce and relieve pain. Fentanyl belongs to this class, along with morphine, and oxycodone. In the medical field, Fentanyl is used for patients with chronic pain, as an anesthetic for surgery. Fentanyl not only reduces physical pain, but also psychological and emotional. In high doses, it is described as euphoric, which can lead to misuse.
Instead of forming naturally via the opium poppy, Fentanyl is synthetic - it is formed through a chemical process and is human-made. This allows it to be produced efficiently, because there is no agricultural or seasonal dependencies. The availability relies on the chemical ingredients and people able to make it, therefore making it cheap and easy to create.
Fentanyl is 50-100 times stronger than morphine, meaning it takes a lot less to achieve "relief" than other opioid drugs. This makes the drug lethal, even in the smallest doses. The difference between life and death is down to a few milligrams, which is about a few grains of salt. The amount of Fentanyl required to take effect is nearly the same amount needed to kill a person. This is the main reason that it is administered in medical facilities under direct supervision and dosed very precisely. Without these precautions, the manufacturing process of cutting and pressing powders to fill pills is imbalanced in distribution.
What is illicit Fentanyl?
The legitimate, pharmaceutical-grade version of Fentanyl is produced by pharmaceutical companies using precise and advanced technology and administered by professionals in medical facilities with proper dosage. It's controlled quality and distribution make it safe and regulated when prescribed. It is very uncommon for overdosing to occur in this environment, or any form of misuse and or tampering.
Illicit Fentanyl is the street drug version of the drug, that is created by dealers and mixed into pills, powders, marijuana, liquids, etc. in makeshift labs with no controlled quality. It is sold in items at illegal markets, and not manufactured to the same standards as pharmaceutical Fentanyl, exponentially increasing the risks of catastrophe when in use. Its potency varies by each maker and batch; most buyers don’t even know the true distribution. Fake pills are created, even with inconsistent amounts of the illicit Fentanyl.
Fake pills are created in a variety of covert and underground settings such as garages, basements, and more by unqualified makers who do not bother to check for quality or safe distribution. This creates high unpredictable doses in each pill, making consumption like a form of roulette.
Due to the lack of regulation, there is no way to guarantee safety. Illicit Fentanyl has contributed to the majority of U.S Drug Deaths in the last few years.