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What is Fentanyl?

After a mass-overdose incident in Chico, Action News Now breaks down what Fentanyl is and why police are concerned with the possibility of it being on the streets.

Posted: Jan 15, 2019 10:05 AM
Updated: Jan 15, 2019 10:07 AM

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - After a mass-overdose incident in Chico, Action News Now breaks down what Fentanyl is and why police are concerned with the possibility of it being on the streets.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, pharmaceutical Fentanyl is a reliever approved for treating severe pain. 

It is 50-100 times more potent than Heroin.

Most recent cases of fentanyl-related overdoses and death in the U.S. are linked to illegally-made Fentanyl. It is sold through illegal drug markets for its "heroin-like" effects. It is often mixed with heroin or cocaine to increase its euphoric effects. 

Mixing Fentanyl with other illegal drugs could be deadly. According to the Oxford Treatment Center, cocaine laced with Fentanyl accounted for 37 percent of overdose deaths in 2016.

Experts say cocaine is a stimulant drug that speeds up the functions that Fentanyl and opioid drugs slow down. The two drugs may counteract each other, potentially leading to cardiac and respiratory complications. Fentanyl laced with heroin is also dangerous and deadly, however, they have had similar methods of action on the brain and body as both are opioid drugs.

Some grim findings from the National Safety Council, for the first time on record, say that lifetime odds of accidentally dying from an opioid overdose in the U.S. are now greater than those of dying in an automobile crash. The NSC found that the lifetime odds of dying from an accidental opioid overdose were 1 in 96. For motor vehicle accidents, the odds were 1 in 103. Lifetime odds of death for opioid overdose were greater than the risk of death from falls, pedestrian incidents, drowning and fire. 

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