Opioid medications work to reduce pain in the body. They attach to opioid receptors in the brain to do this. Different opioid medications affect more or fewer receptors, changing the overall potency.
The potency of an opioid medication is what makes it dangerous. Fentanyl, for instance, is 100 times more potent than its sister drug, morphine. It takes only 100 millionth of a gram to create the same effects of 10 mg of morphine.
This high level of potency is what makes fentanyl so dangerous. While fentanyl has its place in hospitals to provide quick relief to patients, it has also become popular with illicit drug manufacturers. Unfortunately, the intoxicating effects of the drug can quickly become life-threatening.
Fentanyl can cause comas and respiratory depression. Its not the only opioid that has this risk, but because of its high potency, the likelihood of those side effects and complications is higher. In addition, fentanyl is able to be absorbed through the skin, so first responders who are trying to help someone who has overdosed could also come into contact with the drug and end up overdosing themselves.
If you're accused of lacing illicit drugs with fentanyl or selling this potent drug on the streets, you could face extremely harsh penalties. The risk of death is high on this drug, which is why the law takes it so seriously. You need to make sure to defend yourself as soon as possible, because drug charges for possessing or selling this prescription opioid are often severe, especially if someone overdosed as a result of its use.
Source: Drugabuse.com, "Is Fentanyl More Deadly Than Heroin?," Lauren Villa, MPH, accessed Dec. 08, 2017