Cuyahoga County Title

Facts about Fentanyl

*Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. It is a schedule II prescription drug, and it is typically used to treat patients with severe pain or to manage pain after surgery. It is also sometimes used to treat patients with chronic pain who are physically tolerant to other opioids. In its prescription form, fentanyl is known by such names as Actiq®, Duragesic®, and Sublimaze®. Street names for fentanyl or for fentanyl-laced heroin include Apache, China Girl, China White, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfella, Jackpot, Murder 8, TNT, and Tango and Cash.

*How does fentanyl affect the brain?
Like heroin, morphine, and other opioid drugs, fentanyl works by binding to the body's opioid receptors, which are found in areas of the brain that control pain and emotions.9 When opioid drugs bind to these receptors, they can drive up dopamine levels in the brain's reward areas, producing a state of euphoria and relaxation.9 Fentanyl's effects resemble those of heroin and include euphoria, drowsiness, nausea, confusion, constipation, sedation, tolerance, addiction, respiratory depression and arrest, unconsciousness, coma, and death.

In Cuyahoga County, Fentanyl is the leading cause of overdose deaths according to the Medical Examiner's Office. Full overdose death data can be found in the "Heroin & Fentanyl Related Deaths in Cuyahoga County" report on the Heroin Initiative page:

*Why is Fentanyl so Dangerous?
The high potency of fentanyl greatly increases risk of overdose, especially if a person who uses drugs is unaware that a powder or pill contains fentanyl.

*A fentanyl overdose can sometimes be reversed with the drug naloxone when given right away. It often takes higher doses of naloxone to successfully reverse a fentanyl overdose. Read more about the local naloxone program,
Project DAWN.

For more information about Fentanyl, please visit the National Institute On Drug Abuse's (NIDA) website: *NIDA is the reference for the fentanyl information on this page.

If you or a family member is experiencing a mental health or an alcohol or other drug-related emergency, seek immediate assistance by calling the 24-hour Suicide Prevention, Mental Health Crisis, Information and Referral Hotline: (216) 623-6888 or the United Way's First Call for Help, 211 or (216) 436-2000.
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