What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a powerful, synthetic opioid used to treat pain. It can be injected into the veins or muscles, inhaled through the nose via a nasal spray, or applied as a patch on the skin. A health professional can prescribe fentanyl legally for a patient with pain. However, fentanyl can be made and used illegally.

Why is Fentanyl Dangerous?

Fentanyl is sometimes added to drugs to increase a person’s high and can be disguised as heroin, cocaine, meth, marijuana, and counterfeit (fake) prescription pills. As a result, many people believe that they are purchasing a certain drug and do not know that they are buying fentanyl – which often results in overdose deaths. Fentanyl is extremely dangerous. A dose as small as 1-2 grains (2mg) of salt can cause a fatal overdose. In Georgia, from 2019 to 2021, drug overdose deaths increased by 61%, and fentanyl-involved overdose deaths increased by 230%.

Persons who use drugs (PWUD), healthcare professionals, and the community must understand there is a significant risk of overdose when using opioids, stimulants, and other illicit drugs, as they may be mixed with fentanyl.

Page last updated 2/22/23