Today he is public enemy number one for the American authorities, who have asked China for help to combat a real epidemic of cases and deaths linked to abuse
It has 80 times the potency of morphine and 50 times that of heroin. AND’ fentanyl which together with its derivatives is used as an anesthetic and analgesic in both medicine and veterinary medicine. Today he is public enemy number one for the American authorities, who have asked China for help to combat a real epidemic of cases and deaths linked to the abuse of this substance and its derivatives illicitly synthesized and sold as ‘synthetic heroin’ or mixed with heroin.
What is it, the effects
Fentanyl is taken via intravenous injection, transdermal patches, oral transmucosal lozenges, and vestibular tablets. Fentanyl powder or patches are also smoked or taken intranasally (snorted), explains the Central Directorate for Anti-Drug Services on its website. It has psychoactive effects, “it is an analgesic that acts mainly on the μ-opioid receptor. In addition to its analgesic action, fentanyl causes dizziness and euphoria, the latter less marked than heroin and morphine”.
The fentanyl phenomenon in the USA and Italy
In the USA it is estimated – according to a study published ‘Addiction’ – that the proportion of deaths attributable to fentanyl has increased more than 50 times since 2010, going from 0.6% (235 deaths) in 2010 to 32.3% (34,429 deaths ) in 2021. An escalation that is worrying the American authorities, the Trump administration had already launched an offensive against the spread of this molecule. Fentanyl overdose “involves respiratory depression which can be reversed with naloxone. Sudden death due to cardiac arrest or severe anaphylactic reaction can also occur”, warns the Central Directorate for Anti-Drug Services. Fentanyl arrives after the alarm over the abuse of oxycodone, which has also caused addiction and deaths in the US.
The phenomenon turned on the sirens in Hollywood even after the deaths of stars such as Prince and rapper Mac Miller. Netflix produced ‘Painkiller’ which chronicles the opioid epidemic in America. Also released on Netflix was ‘Pain Hustlers – The business of pain’ with Emily Blunt and Chris Evans, which turns the spotlight on the weapons used in the new millennium by the pharmaceutical industry to promote first oxycodone and then even more powerful substances such as fentanyl . The Hulu platform tackled the topic in 2021 with ‘Dopesick,’ starring Michael Keaton, examining how one company caused the epidemic of opioid addiction and addiction.
And in Italy? “With decree of 30 June 2020, the structural analogues and derivatives of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid used for pain therapy and as an anaesthetic, to be used under strict medical supervision, were included in Table I of narcotic and psychotropic substances”, recalls the Ministry of Health on its website.