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Gibson D. Lewis Library Libguides

One Pill Kills

Background Information

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50X stronger than heroin and 100X stronger than morphine.   

  • There are two types of fentanyl:  pharmaceutical fentanyl and illegally manufactured or illegally made fentanyl. 
  • Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are the most common drugs involved in drug overdose deaths. 
  • It is often added to other drugs to create polysubstance (an intentional or unintentional mixing of illegal drugs and substances) and make products more potent and cheaper to produce in the illegal drug markets.
  • It can be in liquid or powder form and found in pills resembling prescription drugs or in nasal sprays, eye drops, or dropped onto paper or small candies.
  • 2mg of fentanyl, the amount that will fit on the tip of a sharpened pencil (pictured), can kill a person.
  • It has no taste or smell and can only be detected through test strips or lab test.
The following video is from KHOU Houston Channel 11 News on recent fentanyl deaths:

Warning:  The video has scenes and material that may be disturbing to some viewers, including death and loss.  Please watch with care. 

Other Relevant Information