Where Does Fentanyl Come From?

Fentanyl is a highly powerful synthetic opioid that has gained widespread attention in recent years because of its role in the addiction and death of so many people across America. Fentanyl was also believed to play a role in the death of music legend Prince.

What is fentanyl? Where does fentanyl come from, and where did fentanyl originate?

These are common questions people have, particularly since it seems to have come from nowhere and suddenly created a massive addiction problem for users.

The following outlines some of the details of what fentanyl is, and answers the questions of where did fentanyl come from and where did fentanyl originate.

Where Does Fentanyl Come From?
Fentanyl is an incredibly potent opioid analgesic. It’s similar to morphine, yet anywhere from 50 to 100 times stronger, and it’s classified as a schedule II prescription drug, meaning there is the potential for abuse, but it does also have therapeutic pain-relieving benefits in some cases.

It’s available in several prescription brand name versions including Actiq, Sublimaze, and Duragesic.

In a clinical or hospital setting, someone might be given fentanyl to relieve severe pain, such as following surgery or to manage pain from cancer. It is sometimes used in the treatment of chronic pain if a person has proven resistant to other, less strong opioids.

The street names for fentanyl, or heroin that is mixed with fentanyl, include China Girl, China White, and Goodfella, among others.

When fentanyl is used medically, it’s often done in a format where it’s delivered for constant pain relief, and the Duragesic Transdermal Patch is the most common way that’s done. It is something that’s applied to the skin that releases a set amount of the drug every hour.

While in a medical setting fentanyl can be effective and safe for the treatment of severe pain, when it’s used illegally it can be incredibly dangerous. There are more than 12 illicit types of fentanyl that are known currently, and one of the reasons it’s so dangerous is because the effects last for a much shorter time than heroin. The shorter the effects of a powerful drug, generally the more addictive it is and the more potential for abuse and overdose exists.

Before looking at where did fentanyl come from and where did fentanyl originate, it’s important to understand the effects and signs of fentanyl abuse.

When someone abuses fentanyl, they will experience a euphoric high and also maybe a complete sense of relaxation.  When someone uses a large amount of fentanyl, however, it can lead to extreme drowsiness, confusion, nausea, and sedation. It can also contribute to serious consequences including respiratory distress or arrest, or even a coma.

Also, while you may feel high when you first take fentanyl, when you come down off that high you’ll often feel depressed.

Over the long-term fentanyl abuse can lead to deterioration in your quality of life, a lack of ability to make good decisions and show good judgement, and you will have a tolerance for the drug, so you will have to take higher doses to feel an effect, or you won’t feel the effects at all anymore.

So for all the news headlines about it, where does fentanyl come from? Where did fentanyl originate from?

The company Janssen Pharmaceutica first developed it in 1959, and it was primarily used as an anesthetic and pain reliever for medical purposes when it was first introduced.

During the 1960s it started to be used as an intravenous anesthetic, and it was called Sublimaze. It wasn’t until the middle of the 1990s when the fentanyl patch was introduced and could be used in the treatment of chronic pain, such as pain from cancer.

After the patch, other ways of delivering fentanyl were introduced including the Actiq lollipop and other oral options.

So regarding illicit use, where does fentanyl come from? Most fentanyl in the U.S. comes from China. China isn’t where fentanyl originated, but because of the lack of regulations in the pharmaceutical industry there, the country is a pretty significant supplier of illegal prescription drugs and chemicals.

When answering where did fentanyl come from and where did fentanyl originate, it’s also relevant to see how it makes it to the U.S. from China. Some comes directly from China, but many other shipments will first go to Mexico and then to the U.S. Less commonly, fentanyl may come through Canada before the U.S.

China exports many different types of fentanyl products including the raw substance, analogs, and counterfeit prescription drugs like oxycodone that are laced with fentanyl.

There are different ways China exporters have managed to get fentanyl to the west such as mislabeling shipments, and in 2015, U.S. Border agents seized around 200 pounds of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids that were nearly smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico.

China has been making some strides to prevent fentanyl from coming from their country illegally, and there has also been legislation introduced in the U.S. such as the Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention Act, but fentanyl remains one of the most problematic opioids in the U.S.

So to sum up, where does fentanyl come from? In terms of illicit fentanyl, the majority comes from China, often through Mexico.

Where Does Fentanyl Come From?
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