The simple answer to what is fentanyl is that it is a very powerful prescription painkiller for severe or chronic pain. This means that it is basically only useful in worst case scenario situations and when the patient does not respond to many of the other opiate or opioid painkillers available.
Unfortunately, this simple explanation does not exactly answer what fentanyl is and certainly does not touch on why you should be concerned about it. Fentanyl is a relatively new painkiller and has only been in active use since the 1990s when more convenient forms of delivery became available.
Fentanyl is a very powerful medication. Doctors state that it is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine and its derivatives. It is easy to overdose on or become addicted to and is only supposed to be used in the most severe cases of cancer or chronic pain. It was never meant to take the place of lesser painkiller but rapidly became one of the most widely prescribed painkillers in 2012 and 2013.
Due to the easy delivery methods, it is one of the more widely diverted painkillers as well. The patch and lollipop forms of it make it very attractive to people addicted to opiates or opioid drugs. Many of the current Fentanyl addicts get their supply be stealing it from those with a legitimate prescription.
If fentanyl is not being closely monitored it is very easy to overdose on. First without someone to administer it, it is easy to take too much of it. One of the ways that addicts choose to take it is by scraping the medication off the patch or by using multiple patches. Since the overdose threshold is so low, it is possible to give someone or yourself a fatal dose without even realizing it.
Also, fentanyl cannot be mixed with other medications or respiratory depressants. Many people find themselves in trouble because they drink alcohol, take cough syrup, or mix fentanyl with another medication. Each of these situations can send you to the hospital at the very least and at most they can be deadly. With fentanyl it is not just respiratory depressants you have to worry about. You also have to be aware of stimulants and many other types of drugs. They can react badly with fentanyl and cause seizures, coma, heart failure, respiratory failure, and coma usually resulting in death.
Fortunately, fentanyl is an opiate, it is a very powerful opiate but still just an opiate. This means that medication assisted treatment is available should you choose to use it. One of the main reasons fentanyl addicts do not want to stop their addiction is due to the horrific withdrawal symptoms. With medication assisted treatment, you can avoid or greatly reduce these symptoms by simply using one of the many medications available for this purpose. If you or a loved one is addicted to fentanyl, help is available.