Acryl fentanyl, an analog of fentanyl, is becoming an increasingly popular “designer drug” both online and on the streets. With the opioid epidemic continuing to surge throughout the United States, it is no surprise that a large amount of new synthetic narcotics is sprouting around the country. In certain cases, these drugs can be much more life-threatening than heroin.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Like other opioid drugs, fentanyl increases the brain’s dopamine levels, causing the user to enter a state of relaxation and euphoria. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overdose deaths from synthetic opioids have increased 72percent between 2014 and 2015.
Acryl fentanyl comes in a powder and, to the naked eye, looks like heroin or regular fentanyl. Whereas fentanyl has certain legitimate medical benefits, acryl fentanyl does not. Thus, its sole purpose is for abuse.
It is suspected that the drug is being manufactured overseas in countries such as China and is being smuggled into the United States. Currently, the most popular method of obtaining acryl fentanyl is by purchasing it on the dark web.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this year alone, there have been 18 reported acryl fentanyl deaths. This is due, in part, to the drug’s resistance to the “opioid antidote drug” Narcan (Naloxone). Moreover, in Cook County, IL, it has been stated that 44 acryl fentanyl-related overdoses have occurred so far this year. The drug is continuing to spread into other states such as Georgia. As a result, the Georgia State Board of Pharmacy voted on an emergency ban of the drug.
Although Naloxone isn’t guaranteed to stop an acryl fentanyl-related overdose, Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Jonathan Eisenstat says it is still the best option when trying to save an overdose victim, while waiting for the EMS to arrive on the scene.