What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50-100 times stronger than morphine. Pharmaceutical fentanyl was developed for pain management treatment of cancer patients, applied in a patch on the skin. Because of its powerful opioid properties, Fentanyl is also diverted for abuse. Fentanyl is added to heroin to increase its potency, or be disguised as highly potent heroin. Many users believe that they are purchasing heroin and actually don’t know that they are purchasing fentanyl – which often results in overdose deaths. Clandestinely-produced fentanyl is primarily manufactured in Mexico.
Street NamesApache, China Girl, China Town, China White, Dance Fever, Goodfellas, Great Bear, He-Man, Poison, and Tango & Cash
How is it used?Fentanyl can be injected, snorted/sniffed, smoked, taken orally by pill or tablet, and spiked onto blotter paper. Fentanyl patches are abused by removing its gel contents and then injecting or ingesting these contents. Patches have also been frozen, cut into pieces, and placed under the tongue or in the cheek cavity.
How does it affect the body?Similar to other opioid analgesics, Fentanyl produces effects such as: relaxation, euphoria, pain relief, sedation, confusion, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, urinary retention, pupillary constriction, and respiratory depression.
What you can do:
To help fight the fentanyl problem, you can:
- Talk to your children. Tell them that ANY pill they get from a friend or purchased online or off of the street could be a counterfeit pill containing fentanyl. Only take medication that was prescribed by a doctor, purchased at a pharmacy, and approved by parents or guardians.
- Learn about the fentanyl crisis and help spread the word that this is a dangerous situation. Visit the Centers for Disease Control website’s Fentanyl Facts page as a starting-point: https://www.cdc.gov/stopoverdose/fentanyl/index.html)
- Ensure that your child delivers all medications, including over-the-counter medications, to the school nurse for distribution. Students should not carry any medications with them at school, nor share them for any reason.
- Reach out to your school nurse or counselor with any specific concerns, or if you need additional resources that are unique to your family.