also known as fentanil, brand names Sublimaze, Actiq, Durogesic, Duragesic, Fentora, Onsolis, Instanyl, and others, is a synthetic strong agonist at the mu and kappa opiate receptors. Fentanyl is a potent narcotic analgesic with a rapid onset and short duration of action. Historically it has been used to treat chronic breakthrough pain and is commonly used pre-procedures.
Fentanyl is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine, with 100 micrograms of Fentanyl approximately equivalent to 10 mg of morphine and 75 mg of pethidine (meperidine) in analgesic activity. It has an LD50 of 3.1 milligrams per kilogram in rats, 0.03 milligrams per kilogram in monkeys, and an undetermined LD50 in humans.
Fentanyl was first synthesized by Dr. Paul Janssen in 1960 following the medical inception of pethidine several years earlier. Janssen developed fentanyl by assaying analogues of the structurally-related drug pethidine for opioid activity.The pharmaceutical drug Fentanyl has been hitting the streets in eastern Idaho. This powerful pain killer easily has deadly results if used improperly and local officials have seen a rise in its use.
People prescribed the Fentanyl patch generally have severe chronic pain. The patches are placed on the body like a Band-Aid and release the Fentanyl slowly into the bloodstream over a 48 to 72 hour period. But those who abuse the drug receive a lethal amount Fentanyl in a short amount of time.
Fentanyl can be 50 times more powerful than heroine and 80 times more powerful than morphine
“It’s a little bit of a turn off to some users because of the death possibility,” said Jared Vineyard, a counselor at Addiction Rehabilitation Association in Idaho Falls. “It’s very powerful and hard to gage how much you can tolerate.”
That’s what happened to a 30-year-old man this week in Idaho Falls after he and his friend smoked Fentanyl.
“When officers got there, paramedics explained it was an overdose,” said Sgt. Phil Grimes of the Idaho Falls Police.
The victim fortunately survived and his friend went to jail. The problem is growing. Abusers use Fentanyl in many ways, including smoking and chewing the patch.
“It certainly has been a growing problem,” said Bonneville County Coroner Jonathan Walker. “Hopefully with good information out through the media about the importance of truly controlling prescription medications, we can do what we’ve done with methadone. Which is really reduce the amount of accidental deaths related to it.”
People who are prescribed Fentanyl, who legitimately need the prescription drug, also have to be careful after using the patch.
“People at hospitals or at home who use them take these things and if you don’t properly dispose of them, they just put them in the garbage. Then somebody can get that patch out. There is still 60% of that drug left in the patch,” said Vineyard.
The FDA and the company that makes Fentanyl recommends patients fold the sticky sides of the patch together and flush it down the toilet. But then there is the concern that the chemicals in the drug will cause negative effects on the environment.
© Reporter: Johnny Archer