The New York Times investigated the force behind a large number of heroin overdose deaths across the country – fentanyl. The synthetic painkiller, usually used as a patch to treat extreme pain, is roughly 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. Since it looks heroin, batches are often laced with the drug, but as the Times notes, fentanyl is increasing being sold by itself, sometimes without the user’s knowledge. Heroin and fentanyl play into the larger opioid abuse epidemic, as some data suggest that patients who take opioids over the long-term may eventually switch to illicit drugs as pills become more difficult and expensive to obtain under federal re-scheduling and new FDA and CDC guidelines.
Read the entire article here.