Fentanyl: The Drug That Killed Prince Has Killed Thousands of Others - NBC New York

Fentanyl: The Drug That Killed Prince Has Killed Thousands of Others

Fentanyl was blamed for the accidental deaths of hostages when Russian forces used it to subdue terrorists in 2002

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    Fentanyl: The Drug That Killed Prince Has Killed Thousands of Others
    AP, File
    This Wednesday, April 26, 2006 file photo shows different brands and dosages of Fentanyl patches, marked with warnings about non-prescribed uses in St. Louis. Fentanyl is a narcotic that is typically administered to people in chronic pain, including end-stage cancer patients. It is also used as an anesthetic. It is considered 80 times more powerful than morphine and can kill by inhibiting breathing.

    Fentanyl, the drug that killed Prince, is a powerful narcotic that has killed thousands of others, according to NBC News. 

    According to a medical examiner’s report Thursday, the pop icon died from fentanyl toxicity. The autopsy report gave no details apart from declaring that Prince died from an apparently self-administered dose of the drug.

    Fentanyl was formulated in the 1950s by Belgian drug company Janssen Pharmaceutica as a safer, more effective alternative to the painkillers morphine and meperidine. 

    It is the strongest opioid approved for medical use in the United States and is rated as 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the National Institute for Drug Abuse. It’s the go-to drug many patients with advanced cancer use to deal with their pain. Drug pushers will mix it with heroin or cocaine, which can increase potency and danger.

    Overdoses related to the drug have killed more than 700 people across the country from late 2013 to early 2015, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.