Fentanyl: What It Is and Why You Should Know About It

Almost 1 year ago, my sister-in-law’s sister passed away from a drug overdose. This may not seem like a close relationship to you, but to me, she was considered part of the family—we even decided we would be sister-in-laws at my brother’s wedding because we were technically both sisters to the people getting married.

She was probably high on some sort of drug at that very moment and I had absolutely no idea. People are easy to judge and say that they would know if someone was addicted to drugs, but believe me, it is not that simple. They are master manipulators, especially if they are constantly high; you would assume that is just their personality. Carrie* was bubbly, the life of the party, always talking to you, and the biggest girly-girl I knew. She was not someone who I even had an inkling that she did drugs, let alone was addicted to them.

My parents and I got the call from my brother last February that Carrie had overdosed and passed away the night before from Fentanyl. The three of us were shocked to even hear she had a substance abuse problem, but equally as shocked to hear it was from a drug that none of us had ever heard of.

Only her immediate family was aware of the substance abuse issue. Carrie had been sober since before Thanksgiving thanks to rehab. But did you know, rehab only works less than 50% of the time?

I am unsure how long her addiction to Fentanyl went on for, but it is suspected that her addiction tendencies started young, as she was into partying at an early age. Unfortunately, since Carrie had been sober, once she took the hit of Fentanyl her body started to shut down—organ by organ. The doctors suspect it killed her instantly. I do not claim to be an expert on drugs, but I do know that with the case of Fentanyl, once you relapse on it, it will kill you—no matter how small the dose.

You have probably never heard of fentanyl before, but it is an opioid created to help relieve the pain of cancer patients.  An increase of overdoses from fentanyl lead the CBC to name 2016 “The year of the Fentanyl crisis.” Because Fentanyl is cheap, drug dealers have been lacing it into heroin and other opioids, but just a tiny bit too much Fentanyl can kill you. Below are some basic facts about the deadly drug.

Quick Facts:

  • It is up to 100x more potent than morphine and 50x more potent than heroin

  • More than half of opioid overdoses are caused by fentanyl

  • As little as 2 milligrams can cause an overdose (aka the size of about 2 grains of salt)

  • Fentanyl companies pay kickbacks to doctors that prescribe more of their drug (aka the easier it is for addicts to get a hold of)

I encourage you to do further research on this epidemic and bring awareness to your friends and family. Fentanyl is a widely abused deadly drug that needs more awareness. There are many resources and documentaries online that deal with this subject and how you can help someone if you suspect they are addicted to Fentanyl, or any other drug.


*Name has been changed.