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Fentanyl is a very potent painkiller. It is prescribed for the treatment of chronic pain and severe pain—at least it used to be. Due to the increased use of illicit Fentanyl, the Drug Enforcement Administration placed all illicit Fentanyl analogs not already regulated by the Controlled Substances Act into Schedule I.
This category includes substances that have no currently accepted medical use. Fentanyl used to be a Schedule II drug: substances with accepted medical use but are highly dangerous when abused.
The ruling was made effective on February 6, 2018, and shall remain in effect for two years. Therefore Fentanyl will remain as a Schedule I drug until 2020.
Why was Fentanyl Made into a Schedule I Substance?
In a statement, DEA explains: “by proactively scheduling the whole class of illicit fentanyl substances simultaneously, federal agents and prosecutors can take swift and necessary action against those bringing this poison into our communities.”
The reason for this ruling is that Fentanyl is so often mixed with heroin and other drugs like cocaine—which are also dangerous on their own. This is made even riskier by the fact that users who buy these substances on the illicit market are unaware of the specific substance they are actually consuming.
With this new scheduling, those who possess, import, distribute, or manufacture illicit Fentanyl analogs will be subject to criminal prosecution in the same manner as for other controlled substances. It should also make it easier for federal prosecutors and agents to prosecute traffickers or the substance.
Is It Really That Dangerous?
Fentanyl mixed with other drugs is deadly. Taking it can be life-threatening. But even just Fentanyl on its own is very potent. That’s why many people get addicted to it.
Fentanyl is one of the opioids that cause drug overdose deaths. Side effects may vary from person to person, depending on a number of factors like size, weight, and overall health condition. Those with a history of drug abuse are also more likely to experience its unwanted side effects.
Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, drowsiness, fatigue, dizziness, headache, and slurred speech.
It is also possible to overdose on Fentanyl. Seek immediate medical assistance if the Fentanyl user displays any of the following symptoms: chest pain, seizure, passing out, bluish lips and complexion, and slowed breathing.
Fentanyl addiction is a serious problem that can lead to various health problems. The person can also develop tolerance and dependence, meaning the drug will stay in their system for a longer period of time and produce fewer effects, prompting the user to take even more.
If someone you care about is abusing this drug, look for an addiction treatment facility near you as soon as possible. It is necessary for them to go through medical detox and behavioral therapy in order to fight all the effects of addiction. Help your loved one get sober today!