Fentanyl is categorized as an “opioid.” Opioids are drugs that interact with receptors in the brain and nervous system to relieve pain and create a sense of euphoria - or a feeling of intense happiness. Alongside fentanyl, common drugs like heroin, morphine and hydrocodone are all classified as opioids. But, fentanyl is extra dangerous - it’s nearly 100 times stronger than morphine.
It’s often prescribed for patients who are suffering from chronic pain or have REALLY strong pain that doesn’t go away with regular-strength pain killers. However, it is often deadly when found on the streets. It is commonly in powder or pill form and is often mixed in with other drugs. Many people aren’t even aware they are taking fentanyl, which is why it can be so dangerous.
Fentanyl in Tennessee:
Deaths from fentanyl increased by 446% between 2017 and 2021 alone.
Fentanyl was responsible for 41 deaths per 100,000 residents in 2021, up from 12 deaths per 100,000 residents in 2018.
In 2021, 3,814 individuals in Tennessee died of a drug overdose with 2,734 of those deaths caused by Fentanyl.
Fentanyl in America:
From 2019 to 2021, synthetic opioid deaths increased by 94%. In 2021, synthetic-opioid overdoses were 22 times higher than they were in 2013.
In 2021 alone, 106,669 people died from drug overdoses. Over two-thirds of these deaths involved synthetic opioids.