DAILY CALLER — Fentanyl, the extremely potent opioid that Prince overdosed on, has now become a linchpin of drug cartels across Mexico due to its extreme profitability, The New York Times reports.
The United States has an insatiable demand for opioids in the 21st century, including heroin, oxycontin and other prescription drugs, with unintentional overdose deaths quadrupling since 1999.
“However, what makes fentanyl more dangerous than typical opioids is its potency. It is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 more than morphine and is highly addictive. It is not like any other drug — it crosses the blood-brain barrier more quickly and has a very rapid onset of action, making it more prone to habit forming and more prone to abuse than other prescription opioids,” said Dr. Caleb Alexander, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness.
Originally created as a painkiller for cancer patients, the drug is now being manufactured in a synthetic form, instead of a purer pharmaceutical form, in Mexican drug labs.