Every day, 91 Americans fatally overdose on an opioid drug.
It may be a prescription analgesic or heroin—4-8 percent of people who misuse painkillers transition to heroin—but increasingly it is likely to be heroin’s much more potent synthetic cousin fentanyl. In the space of only two years, fentanyl has tragically escalated the opioid crisis. This drug is 50-100 times more potent than morphine and able to enter the brain especially quickly because of its high fat solubility; just 2 milligrams can kill a person, and emergency personnel who touch or breathe it may even be put in danger. Unfortunately, many people addicted to opioids as well as other drugs like cocaine are accidentally being poisoned by fentanyl-laced products.
Although fentanyl is a medicine prescribed for post-surgical pain and palliative care, most of the fentanyl responsible for this surge of deaths is made illicitly in China and imported to the U.S. via...
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