Fentanyl, the drug that killed Prince, is an opioid painkiller that’s 50 times stronger than pure heroin.
Although the deadly drug is legal with a doctor’s prescription, it’s also being made illegally in underground labs and traded across the US.
A new CDC report, released August 25, found that from 2013-2014:
- Incidents of law enforcement officers finding drugs containing fentanyl jumped 426%.
- Deaths from synthetic opioids like fentanyl rose by 79%.
“In contrast to the 2005–2007 fentanyl overdose outbreak, when deaths were confined to several states, the current epidemic is unprecedented in scope,” the report states.
Here’s what you need to know about it:
This is fentanyl. It looks like any other prescription painkiller — but it isn’t.
Fentanyl, which is also available in a patch or liquid, is 80 to 100 times more powerful than morphine and about 40 to 50 times more potent than 100% pure heroin.
Still, the drug belongs to a larger class of drugs, known as opioid painkillers, which includes prescription drugs like OxyContin and Vicodin. These drugs work by capitalizing on our body’s natural pain-relief system, and can result in a surging sense of euphoria.