Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate pain reliever. It’s typically prescribed to patients for severe pain or injury, or after a patient has undergone surgery. It works quickly to eliminate any pain in the body. However, it can also be very addictive. Fentanyl is much more potent than heroin and 100x more potent than morphine.
Street names for straight or laced drugs include Apache, China Girl, China White, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfella, Jackpot, Murder 8, TNT, and Tango and Cash.
Fentanyl sold on the street can be mixed with heroin or cocaine, which markedly amplifies its potency and potential dangers. It has been found to be the cause of high overdose spikes in several cities across the country. Unsuspecting consumers don’t realize that their drug of choice has been laced with fentanyl or don’t understand the dangers of mixing the drugs.
It can be absorbed through the skin so is dangerous to those who are working with it in powder form, including law officers in collecting evidence. It’s so potent that an amount the size of three grains of sugar can be lethal.
Signs & Symptoms
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
- Dry mouth
- Retention of urine
- Suppression of breathing
- Severe constipation
- Itching or hives
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Difficulty seeing
- Bad dreams
- Difficulty sleeping
- Swollen extremities
Effects of Use
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. Even a small doses of fentanyl, can cause breathing to stop completely, which can lead to death. It can increase your risk for anoxic injury (damage due to significantly decreased oxygen in the body tissues) and multiple organ system damage.
The high potency of fentanyl greatly increases risk of overdose, especially if a person who uses drugs is unaware that a powder or pill contains fentanyl.