A synthetic opioid, fentanyl has as much as 100 times the potency of morphine and can deliver these powerful effects immediately. While powerful, the effects of the drug are short-lived, leaving users quickly in need of more of the drug to sustain their high. While legitimately used by doctors for “breakthrough pain” — pain which other drugs can’t control — and classified as a Schedule II drug, the drug has an extraordinary potential for abuse.
Increasing the dangers are the forms in which the drug comes. Dissolvable lozenges, lollipops and patches make it incredibly difficult for recreational users to know how much of the drug they are taking each time, and this makes it incredibly easy for them to overdose. Since only a tiny amount separates a non-lethal from a lethal dose, the dangers for recreational users increase dramatically when the drug is taken in these forms.
Fentanyl is also easy to acquire in contrast to many other illicit drugs, and its wide available also means the drug is cheaper than many of its counterparts. Fentanyl’s wide availability doesn’t strictly apply to street versions, either. Drug manufacturers frequently include fentanyl in other drugs, increasing legitimate patient’s exposure to the drug as well.
Another way to understand the drug’s threat to users is through recent drug studies. In a single year, 2014, 30,000 overdose deaths occurred. Between 2013 and 2014, deaths from synthetic opioids like fentanyl doubled. A medically-supervised detox is necessary but not sufficient to overcome fentanyl abuse. Individualized rehab, like the kind offered by Bayview Recovery, is the only way out for addicts.