What is fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.
- Legal Version: A synthetic opioid commonly prescribed to treat severe post-surgery and chronic pain. In this form, it’s known by a handful of brand names (Actiq®, Duragesic®, Sublimaze®, Fentora®).
- Illegal Version: A synthetic opioid made in labs that can be then cut into drugs like cocaine, heroin, meth and MDMA or pressed into counterfeit pills such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, Percocet®, Adderall®. and Xanax®. Its liquid form, IMF, can be found in nasal sprays, eye drops and dropped onto paper or small candies. You can’t see, smell or taste fentanyl—this allows a drug dealer to produce a stronger high for a lower cost.
Fentanyl in America and Wyoming
Fentanyl is dangerous and often deadly, and you may not know you are consuming it. In Wyoming, there were 53 fatal overdoses involving fentanyl in 2022.
Street Names: China Girl, China Town, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfellas, Great Bear, He-Man, Jackpot
How it’s abused:
- Intentional users will snort, smoke or take it orally by pill or blotted paper.
- Unintentional users (cocaine, MDMA, heroin, meth, oxy) may be exposed to deadly levels of fentanyl without being able to see it, taste it or smell it.
Signs of Overdose
Recognizing the signs of an overdose can be life saving:
- Slow, weak or loss of breath
- Small “pinpoint pupils”
- Suddenly falling asleep or losing consciousness
- Choking or gurgling sounds
- Limp body
- Cold and/or clammy skin
- Discolored skin (especially in lips and nails)
How Can Naloxone Help?
Naloxone is a medicine that can rapidly reverse an opioid overdose. It is an opioid antagonist. A common form of Naloxone, NARCAN®, can be purchased at most local pharmacies. In addition, free NARCAN® is now available for agencies, businesses and organizations in Wyoming.
How Can Test Strips Help?
Fentanyl test strips (FTS) are a low-cost method of helping prevent drug overdoses and reducing harm. FTS are small strips of paper that can detect the presence of fentanyl in all different kinds of drugs (cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, etc.) and drug forms (pills, powder and injectables). FTS provide people who use drugs and communities with important information about fentanyl in the illicit drug supply so they can take steps to reduce overdose risks.
Recovery is Possible!
If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid or drug misuse or abuse, there is hope. Recovery is possible.
Mental Health and Substance Use Treatment Services, part of the Wyoming Department of Health, provides statewide leadership and funding of a high-quality mental health and addiction prevention, treatment and recovery system.
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