According to the World Health Organization (WHO), fentanyl is a type of synthetic opioid that is 50 times more powerful than heroin and 100 times more powerful than morphine. With side effects such as loss of consciousness, nausea or respiratory depression, this drug has become one of the most addictive and dangerous in the world.
In the United States, deaths due to overdose of this substance have increased by 50, to the point of becoming a serious public health problem. On the other hand, in Spain its consumption, among people between 15 and 64 years old, increased by eight last year compared to 2018. It should be noted that in the national territory most of the consumption is legal and regulated. to prescribe it under medical supervision, because it acts as an analgesic and sedative.
However, the fact that it is used to relieve chronic pain or terminal cancers does not prevent people from developing an addiction. There are certain forms of fentanyl that are characterized by their rapid release, by pill or intranasally, whose effects work quickly. This can cause overdose episodes that can lead to a person’s death if the amount is not controlled.
Addition of fentanyl
Although this drug is used as an analgesic, it is also sold as a smuggled drug for the immediate relief it produces. But it also creates “lethargy, sedation and disconnection from the environment,” according to Kiko Toja, an expert in Hospital Pharmacy. The most recent case of overdose from this drug is in New York, where a child died in a daycare due to exposure to this substance.
According to EDADES in the most recent survey on alcohol and other drugs in Spain, the consumption of fentanyl increased from 1.9% in 2018, corresponding to 84,000 people; to 14% in 2022, with a total of 695,000 people, eight times more than the previous figure. In 2018, the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS) warned of the increase in the use of drugs containing fentanyl and expressed “concern about the risk of abuse and dependence of patients.”
Due to its increasing consumption, fentanyl has become the third most used opioid in Spain, after codeine and tramadol. Usually prescribed for people with chronic diseases and cancer, as well as terminal patients; But because of the great dangers it can cause, it is important to have strict control, with measured and studied doses according to each patient.