Awareness of the National Opioid Crisis: Fentanyl

Awareness of the National Opioid Crisis: Fentanyl

Posted by Dental Didactics CE on Jun 29th 2022

Fentanyl and the National Opioid Crisis

Fentanyl has emerged as the latest drug abuse threat to American society. Originally developed as a narcotic IV anesthetic in 1960, it is currently utilized as an effective painkiller for cancer patients and post-operative pain relief. It is delivered in a number of ways, including transdermal patches, oral "lollipops", tablets, and injectable solutions. It is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine for pain control. Unfortunately due to its potency it has become highly abused. It is illegally obtained through theft, forged prescriptions, and improper unmonitored distribution by patients, physicians, and pharmacists.

Fentanyl abuse results in negative physiological affects

Several of the negative (often extreme) physiological effects of Fentanyl abuse include:

  • Confusion
  • Sedation
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Faint pulse
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Pupil constriction
  • Respiratory depression
  • Fainting
  • Possible death

Signs/Symptoms of Fentanyl overdose

  • Disorientation/stupor
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • cold/clammy skin
  • Respiratory depression
  • Cyanosis
  • Seizures
  • Strongly indicative of opioid poisoning is the "triad of symptoms": respiratory depression, pinpoint pupils, and coma.

For a more complete understanding of Fentanyl abuse see the Dental Didactics CE course National Opioid Crisis 2022