- What is fentanyl?
Fentanyl—a synthetic opioid pain reliever—is 50-100 times more potent than morphine and 30-50 times more potent than heroin. Fentanyl can be up to 100 times stronger than morphine. Illegal, synthetic versions of the drug lead to overdoses and expose first responders and law enforcement in the line of duty.
Often distributed clandestinely in other street drugs, fentanyl can lead to overdose deaths and serious health problems. In 2021, more than 71,000 people died of synthetic opioid overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up from 58,000 in 2020. Fentanyl overdoses are among the leading causes of death in the country for people ages 18 to 45.