Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid painkiller similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. It has a high potential for abuse and can lead to severe dependency.
Typically used to treat severe pain or to manage pain after surgery, it is also sometimes used to treat chronic pain. It was initially used for cancer patients and other debilitating pain. Its use has been extending to include those needing moderate to severe pain management.
Actiq®, Duragesic®, and Sublimaze® are the prescription names for fentanyl. On the street fentanyl or designer, analogs can be called Apache, China Girl, China White, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfella, Jackpot, Murder 8, TNT, and Tango & Cash.
Its misuse is a growing concern in Canada. Reports of death from overdose occur regularly. British Columbia declared a public health emergency after overdoses killed 200 people in the first three months of 2016. In the last 5 years, there were at least 655 fentanyl-related deaths in Canada, this averages out to one death every three days.
The number of overdose deaths in that time period increased by 7 times in BC and 20 times in Alberta, while Ontario increased by 1.7-times and Quebec doubled. Many were not hard-core users but recreational users who did not recognize the symptoms of overdose;
- difficulty breathing,
- and slowed heartbeat.
In the United States, fentanyl-related deaths, 47,055 people in 2014 or 125 Americans every day, is becoming a crisis similar to HIV-related deaths at the peak of that epidemic. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that for every overdose death, there are 10 treatment admissions, 32 emergency department visits, 130 people who abuse or are dependent, and 825 non-medical users.
Canada is now the second-largest user of prescription opioids in the world surpassed only by the US.
How do people use fentanyl?
Fentanyl is often administered via injection, transdermal patch, or in lozenges when prescribed by a physician. Whereas street fentanyl and its analogs (related on a chemical level) are made in clandestine laboratories. These products are sold in the following forms:
- spiked on blotter paper;
- mixed with or substituted for heroin;
- or as tablets that mimic other, less potent opioids.
It is consumed by;
- or blotter paper absorbed through the mucous membrane.
Fentanyl sold on the street can be mixed with heroin or cocaine, this markedly amplifies its potential dangers.
Some side effects can include;
- dry mouth,
- tightness in the chest,
- irregular heartbeat,
- trouble breathing
- and death.
Data provided by Health Canada’s Drug Analysis Services indicate that seizures of fentanyl, both black-market prescription and illicitly produced combined, increased over 30 times from 29 in 2009 to 894 in 2014.
Between 2009 and 2014, there was at least 1,019 fentanyl detected deaths in Canada. More than half of the deaths (525) occurred in 2013 – 2014. On average, this represents almost two fentanyl-detected deaths every three days over these two years.
If you know someone who is abusing this drug and are looking for a private drug rehab call us for help;