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Created On Friday, 08, December 2017
Modified On Tuesday, 09, February 2021

Information on Fentanyl, Detox and Treatment

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid painkiller. It is approved by the FDA to treat severe pain, such as pain related to cancer. It is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and is legally available only through prescription. Pharmaceutical fentanyl is a Schedule II drug, meaning that although it is accepted for medical use in the U.S., it has a high potential for abuse and psychological/physical addiction. Some fentanyl analogs are classified as Schedule I drugs. It is available in the following forms:

  • Injection
  • Lozenge
  • Mouth spray
  • Nasal spray
  • Patch placed on the skin
  • Tablet dissolved between the cheek and the gums or beneath the tongue

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History of Fentanyl

Fentanyl was created in Belgium by Paul Janssen in 1960. It was first approved by the FDA and used in the United States in 1968 combined with droperidol (Innovar). That same year, fentanyl citrate was produced (salt form of the drug) and began to be medically used as a general anesthetic. In the 90s, Janssen’s company, Janssen Pharmaceutica, started doing clinical trials of a fentanyl patch (brand name Duragesic) which works over 2-3 days. The trials were successful and the patch started to be used medically. The popularity of fentanyl came about for several reasons, some of those reasons were because of the speed at which the drug starts acting (5 to 15 minutes depending on the method of administration) and the fact that it is very cost-efficient to produce. Ever since then, new administration methods have been developed and fentanyl is still used medically all over the world.

Illegal Use of Fentanyl in the United States

Although fentanyl as surfaced in the media in the last decade, abuse of the drug actually started not long after it was first created. In the 70s, fentanyl started being used recreationally, either on its own or mixed with other drugs. One can get fentanyl in different ways: theft, prescription fraud, getting it illegally from a patient with a prescription, from a healthcare professional, or a pharmacist. People also illicitly manufacture fentanyl and fentanyl analogs and then deal it on the streets like any other street drug. It is sold in powder or pill form to be swallowed, smoked, snorted, or injected. However, it is sometimes mixed into heroin or cocaine. Because of its potency, it is very dangerous when a pers