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 800% between 2013 and 2017 alone.
Fentanyl was responsible for 7.9 deaths per 100,000 Tennesseans in 2017, up from 4.6 deaths per 100,000 Tennesseans in 2016.
Fentanyl in America:
Between 2013 and 2016, the number of fentanyl-related deaths approximately doubled every single year.
In 2017 alone, 28,400 people died from overdoses involving synthetic opioids.