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 302% between 2017 and 2020 alone.
Fentanyl was responsible for 16.8 deaths per 100,000 Tennesseans in 2019, up from 11.6 deaths per 100,000 Tennesseans in 2018.
In 2019, 2,089 individuals in Tennessee died of a drug overdose with 1,087 of those deaths caused by Fentanyl.
Fentanyl in America:
From 2018 to 2019, synthetic opioid deaths increased by 15%. In 2019, synthetic-opioid overdoses were 11 times higher than they were in 2013.
In 2019 alone, 70,630 people died from drug overdoses. Over half of these deaths involved synthetic opioids.