Drug Prohibition Hysteria: Fentanyl Edition
GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- Drug abusers are increasingly turning to a slow-release form of a powerful painkiller for a quick and dangerous high, University of Florida researchers warn. The trend is raising alarm as the number of people dying from an overdose of the drug fentanyl, an opioid 100 times more potent than morphine, rises.
Addicts are misusing a clear patch that transfers a controlled dose of fentanyl through the skin into the bloodstream over the course of a few days, UF experts say. The adhesive patch is typically prescribed to treat postoperative pain or chronic pain conditions, but in some cases is being misused, often with deadly consequences.
Dr. Albert Ray, medical director of Pain Medicine Solutions in Miami and a past president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, said that the UF study brings necessary attention to the importance of physician and patient education regarding addictive disorders.
“There is nothing wrong with the patch, the problem is with addictive disorders,” Ray said. “Any drug has the potential for abuse. This study is useful for raising awareness of the need for educating prescribing physicians on the importance of screening and monitoring their patients for addictive disorders in order to help decrease the abuse of the patch.”
From a University of Florida press release, June 30, 2005