What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a strong opiod painkiller that is used by many patients around the world suffering from chronic conditions.
It works by stopping pain signals being sent to the nerves in the brain meaning users do not suffer any discomfort.
Due to its strength, it is highly controlled by doctors and pharmacists and cannot be prescribed for children.
It can be administered in patch form or can be injected into the body via a needle or a drip.
Hampshire Police Detective Superintendent Paul Barton, head of organised and serious crime in Southampton, said a major operation revealed the drug is becoming alarmingly more common.
He said: “It’s a cutting agent that is mixed with various drugs, and people don’t know what they’re taking.
“It’s 100 times stronger than morphine, and people aren’t used to the strength.”
What are Fentanyl drug patches used for?
For people suffering from ongoing, chronic pain, they may be given Fentanyl patches, which absorb the drug through the skin and into the bloodstream.
It is often given to cancer sufferers, especially those who are terminally ill and are receiving palliative care.
Other patients who may receive the drug include those who are undergoing anaesthetic for surgical procedures.
Is there a risk of overdosing on Fentanyl?
Like most drugs there is a high risk of overdosing on Fentanyl if you take more than the recommended dose.
And due to the drug being a powerful opoid, overdosing on it can prove to be fatal.
Police in cities across the US and Canada are also seeing people become hooked on the drug due to its highly-addictive nature.
Some even combine the drug with heroin or cocaine to create an even more potent formula, that heightens it effect of feeling relaxed.
Are there any side effects of taking Fentanyl?
Although Fentanyl can prove to be an essential drug for people suffering with chronic pain, it can have some side effects.
Common side effects can include minor ailments such as drowsiness, abdominal pain, headache, loss of appetite and anxiety.
Other, less common side effects are reported to include confusion, memory loss, low blood pressure, runny nose and tooth decay if using Fentanyl in the lozenge form.