What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is an incredibly potent opioid analgesic. It’s similar to morphine, yet anywhere from 80 to 100 times stronger, and it’s classified as a schedule II prescription drug, meaning there is the potential for abuse, but it does also have therapeutic pain-relieving benefits in some cases.

In a clinical or hospital setting, someone might be given fentanyl to relieve severe pain, such as following surgery or to manage pain from cancer. It is sometimes used in the treatment of chronic pain if a person has proven resistant to other, less strong opioids.

The street names for fentanyl, or heroin that is mixed with fentanyl, include China Girl, China White, and Goodfella, among others.

Fentanyl has become very popular in the sale of illicit street drugs to either increase the potency or direct substitution of heroin, cocaine or in the manufacturing of counterfeit Oxycodone pills.

When fentanyl is used medically, it’s often done in a format where it’s delivered for constant pain relief, and the Duragesic Transdermal Patch is the most common way that’s done. It is something that’s applied to the skin that releases a set amount of the drug every hour.

While in a medical setting fentanyl can be effective and safe for the treatment of severe pain, when it’s used illegally it can be incredibly dangerous. There is a potential of over 1400 analogs of fentanyl with only 200+ that have been synthesized and studied. One of the reasons it’s so dangerous is because the effects last for a much shorter time than heroin. The shorter the effects of a powerful drug, generally the more addictive it is and the more potential for abuse and overdose exists.