What is fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. It is a prescription drug that is also made and used illegally. Like morphine, it is a medicine that is typically used to treat patients with severe pain, especially after surgery. It is also sometimes used to treat patients with chronic pain who are physically tolerant to other opioids. Tolerance occurs when you need a higher and/or more frequent amount of a drug to get the desired effects.
In its prescription form, fentanyl is known by such names as Actiq®, Duragesic®, and Sublimaze®. Street names for illegally used fentanyl include Apache, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfellas, Jackpot, Murder 8, and Tango & Cash.
Synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, are now the most common drugs involved in drug overdose deaths in the United States. The findings confirm suspicions that fentanyl played a role in the death of the superstar musician Prince who died of an overdose at his Minneapolis-area estate.
The number of U.S. drug overdose deaths reached a record high as the coronavirus pandemic held the country in its grip last spring, new government data shows. For the 12 months ending in May, more than 81,000 people died from an overdose. That is the highest number ever recorded during a 12-month period, scientists from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
How do people use fentanyl?
When prescribed by a doctor, fentanyl can be given as a shot, a patch that is put on a person’s skin, or as lozenges that are sucked like cough drops.
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 fake M30 oxycodone pill, 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.
How does fentanyl affect the brain?
Like heroin, morphine, and other opioid drugs, fentanyl works by binding to the body’s opioid receptors, which are found in areas of the brain that control pain and emotions. After taking opioids many times, the brain adapts to the drug, diminishing its sensitivity, making it hard to feel pleasure from anything besides the drug. When people become addicted, drug-seeking and drug use take over their lives.
Fentanyl’s effects include
- extreme happiness
- problems breathing
How to spot a counterfeit medicine containing fentanyl
Rapid fentanyl test strips (FTS) represent an emerging harm reduction intervention that may help to prevent unintentional fentanyl exposure and accidental opioid overdose. These tests have the ability to detect the presence of fentanyl and some analogs in drug samples dissolved in water that are believed to be contaminated. Here is how to test it;
In addition, the following guidelines will prevent you from falling prey to the antics of drug counterfeiters and their criminal collaborators;
- Spot the difference. Is the lettering on the packaging hazy and printed flat (rather than raised), or is the expiry date missing?
- Read carefully. Are the labeling and patient information in a language you understand? If there are misspelled words, contact the manufacturers – it can be a telltale sign.
- Use your senses. Is the medicine the same size, shape, texture, color, and taste as your previous prescription?
- Feel for consistency. When you handle the drug does it fall apart easily? If so, it could signal a fake.
- Do a price check. Does the cost of the drug seem very cheap in comparison with your official provider? If it’s much lower, it could be a scam.
- Fentanyl Test: Using a simple fentanyl test strip can help determine whether your Pill is laced with the deadly fentanyl or not.
Buying medicines online
Prescriptions. Make sure the website you buy from requires a prescription and has a pharmacist you can contact for questions.
Licensing. Only buy from certified online pharmacies. Search the website for a declaration of authenticity or certification and double-check this with your country’s official drug regulatory agency. For example, pharmacies in the UK that are registered with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain can display a logo on their website.
Bank details. Don’t supply any credit card numbers unless you are sure the website has policies in place to protect your information and has a secure online payment system.
Promises. Statements such as ‘no risk’ and ‘money-back guarantees’ can be key giveaways of a counterfeit website. SEE: How to Spot An M 30 Blue Oxycodone Pill Fake