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Forms of fentanyl

Opioids are among the drugs most frequently abused in Florida. This category includes drugs such as heroin, that have no accepted medical purpose, as well as prescription medications, such as fentanyl.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, fentanyl is 100 times more potent a painkiller than morphine. This makes it effective at relieving severe pain, such as that experienced by cancer patients, but it also makes it susceptible to abuse. The different forms in which fentanyl is available may make it more accessible for illicit use even though the government places strict controls on when and how doctors can prescribe it.

What forms does prescription fentanyl take?

Prescription fentanyl has many different routes of administration:

  • Injectable solutions
  • Skin patches
  • Sprays
  • Tablets
  • Lozenges

Manufacturers carefully measure the dosages of each so that, when used according to the instructions, taking fentanyl is generally safe and effective. However, people who divert fentanyl for illicit purposes are more susceptible to accidental overdose.

What forms does illicitly produced fentanyl take?

People who abuse fentanyl or distribute it illegally can either divert it from legitimate sources or manufacture their own in clandestine laboratories. In the latter case, the fentanyl may appear as counterfeit pills that resemble authorized preparations or in powder form.

It is common to use the powdered form of fentanyl to cut other drugs, such as cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine. Since even a small amount of fentanyl can cause an overdose, this is a dangerous practice.

The only way to tell whether a drug contains fentanyl is by using a special scientific test. There is no way to know by sight, smell or taste.