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The CDC reported that, "Like heroin, morphine, and other opioid drugs, fentanyl works by binding to the body's opioid receptors, which are found in areas of the brain that control pain and emotions. After taking opioids repeatedly, the brain adapts to the drug, making it hard to feel pleasure from anything besides the drug. When people become addicted, drug use takes over their lives."

According to the DEA:

  • Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is almost100 times more potent than morphine. It only takes 2grams to cause death.

  • It is used to legally to treat patients with extreme pain after surgery.

  • According to the CDC, fentanyl has become one of the most common drugs involved in drug overdose deaths. Reporting that in 2019 in the United States, 73% of opioid-related deaths involved fentanyl.

  • In 2020, approximately 56,516 overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids, primarily involved fentanyl.(Source CDC WONDER.)

  • Fentanyl is commonly mixed in with other illicit drugs to increase potency in counterfeit drugs. It is also mixed into pills that look like prescription opioids such as Oxycontin, Xanax, and Adderall.

  • To learn more about the mixture of fentanyl into other drugs, visit the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Drug Facts on fentanyl.

Fentanyl overdose

How does fentanyl affect the brain?

  • euphoria

  • drowsiness

  • constipation

  • sedation

  • nausea

  • confusion

  • problems breathing

  • unconsciousness

Can a person overdose on fentanyl?


Yes, a person can overdose on fentanyl. When people overdose on fentanyl, their breathing can  slow, and then stop. This decreases the amount of oxygen that is reaching the brain and can lead to a coma, permanent brain damage, and death.

According to the CDC, Fentanyl Test Strips (FTS): Can be used to determine if drugs have been mixed or cut with fentanyl, which can reduce an individuals risk of overdose and/or death.

How can a fentanyl overdose be treated?  Naloxone will work, but extra doses may be needed.

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