Is it easy to become addicted to Fentanyl?

Imagine if there was a pain killer that is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin. There is and it’s called fentanyl and it is extremely easy to develop a fentanyl addiction. Fentanyl is the most potent opioid pain reliever available, primarily prescribed to relieve extreme pain, such as post-op and cancer patients. It can be prescribed in three forms:

Many drug dealers will cut heroin with cheaper, much more potent, fentanyl.
  1. Injectable
  2. Transdermal patch
  3. Sublingual lozenge

Many people had never heard of anyone abusing these medications until the sudden death of Prince in 2016. It’s a sad fact that it takes a death of a celebrity to shed light on an issue that’s been going on for quite a while; fentanyl addiction is a perfect example. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, meaning that it is man-made in a laboratory. Acting on the same receptors in the brain that other painkillers like oxycodone, morphine and heroin do by binding to the body’s opioid receptions, fentanyl increases dopamine levels in the central nervous system (CNS). The higher levels of dopamine result in relaxation, pain relief, decreases suffering and gives a person a sense of euphoria. Legally manufactured fentanyl is sold and distributed by pharmaceutical companies under the following brand names:

Fentanyl is available as a nasal spray.
  • Actiq – lollipops
  • Fentora – effervescent buccal tablets
  • Duragesic – transdermal patches
  • Subsys – sublingual spray
  • Abstral – sublingual tablets
  • Lazanda – nasal spray

As a schedule 2 prescription narcotic analgesic, fentanyl addiction has increased at an alarming rate. Remarkably, it’s the illegally manufactured synthetic fentanyl sold in powder, attached to blotter paper, eye droppers or made into pills that resemble other prescription opioids that are responsible for most fentanyl-related overdoses. Users of fentanyl powder may melt it down to a liquid and inject it directly into the bloodstream, just like heroin. “Synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, are now the most common drugs involved in drug overdose deaths in the United States. In 2017, 59.8 percent of opioid-related deaths involved fentanyl compared to 14.3 percent in 2010” (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2019). Common fentanyl street names include:

Treating fentanyl addiction should be preformed under a licensed and accredited substance abuse facility
  • Apache
  • China Girl
  • China White
  • Dance Fever
  • Friend
  • Goodfellas
  • Jackpot
  • Murder 8
  • Tango
  • Cash

National Institute on Drug Abuse (2019) What is fentanyl? Retrieved from