Fentanyl is a powerful opioid prescribed to treat intractable pain, arising from cancer or after surgery. The drug provides quick relief from pain, but its effects do not last long. It can be mixed with alcohol and other drugs like cocaine to heighten the effects.
First synthesized in the 1960s by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, fentanyl was initially used as a general anesthetic during surgery. At present, the drug is legal in the medical world, and is used for managing severe pain in cancer patients. Owing to its powerful pain-relieving and relaxation-inducing properties, the drug is often abused and sought for illicit purposes.
Fentanyl is considered to be approximately 100 times more potent than morphine. One can understand its danger from the fact that an amount equivalent to the size of three grains of sugar is lethal for an adult human. Listed as a Schedule II drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), fentanyl is extremely addictive and should be used with caution.
Known by various names, such as Apache, Jackpot, Friend, Tango and China Town, among others, the opioid is available as a nasal spray, tablet, lozenge, film and injection. The patch form is the most widely abused substance, whose effects may continue to increase for the first 12-24 hours of wearing it, lasting for up to 72 hours. In addition to it, lollipops and pills are also common forms of abusing the drug.