Fentanyl: The New Heroin

March 11th, 2011

It’s 100 times more potent than morphine, 10 times more expensive than heroin, and many professionals in the addiction recovery industry haven’t even heard of it. Fentanyl is quietly making itself known in the drug world — hit by hit, and addiction by addiction.

Hospitals and other medical centers commonly use fentanyl as an opiate pain killer (similar to morphine) because it works to dull the pain center in the brain. It has been used in surgery, is included in many paramedics’ first aid kits and, unfortunately, has been abused by medical professionals in numerous cases. The powerful addictive qualities of fentanyl have led to countless addictions and some documented overdoses. It is perhaps the high cost of the drug that has kept it from becoming as popular as heroin, for example.

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Fentanyl has effects very similar to heroin. Says one previous Seattle-area user, “I just felt so good, so light, just so relaxed,” when first using the drug. Addiction comes quickly, however: the highly expensive drug is difficult for addicts to get ahold of, its abuse still lacks attention and research, and the withdrawal symptoms are extremely unpleasant.

In a recent article in The Stranger, one user was cited as saying, “This is my absolute overall perspective on that stuff—it’s absolutely amazing, it will ruin your life, it will steal all your money, and you will still love it more than anything.”


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