A Silent Killer


A killer that has been hidden in plain sight, right under our noses…Fentanyl. What is it? Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid manufactured in Mexico. It’s also been hidden in brightly colored candy recently. 

What is it?

 First of all, let’s talk about what fentanyl is. Fentanyl is a super strong synthetic opioid that is 50-100 times stronger than morphine, and because of its powerful opioid properties, fentanyl was abused for drug intakes. According to DEA.gov, “Fentanyl is added to heroin to increase its potency, or be disguised as highly potent heroin.” Most of the users that believe that they are buying heroin don’t often know that they are buying fentanyl.


Credit: Getty Images


Risk Factors of Fentanyl

The risks of fentanyl are, According to Colorado State University, “accidental overdose can occur quickly and unexpectedly.” One of the most recent and popular appearances of fentanyl is being found in candy-like Sweet Tarts and Smarties lately. Another risk is also how sometimes fentanyl is disguised in heroin needles, a more deadly way to overdose is by injection of it through those needles. Some signs of an overdose of fentanyl will be: unresponsive, slow or stopped breathing, skin pale and clammy, vomiting, and a weak or no pulse.


Fentanyl being found in brightly colored candy. Credit: Alamy Images


How is it used and why is it used?                                                                       

How and why is fentanyl used? Well, according to DEA.gov its use is for, “Intense, short-term high, temporary feelings of euphoria, slowed respiration and reduced blood pressure, nausea, fainting, seizures, death.”


How can it affect our bodies?

Finally, how can fentanyl affect our bodies? Well, according to DEA.gov, fentanyl produces effects such as: “relaxation, euphoria, pain relief, sedation, confusion, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, urinary retention, pupillary constriction, and respiratory depression.” Fentanyl can affect our bodies in multiple ways than one.

If you or anyone you know has been in a situation where they were face to face with fentanyl or drug abuse, there is help out there you can call one of these numbers or go to one of these websites for help.

(800) 968-2636 or (888) 966-8152

Addiction Center Information

Drug Addiction and Health Programs

Sources: CSU Health Network and US Drug Enforcement Administration