In recent times, a new and deadlier drug than morphine and heroin has come to spotlight. It is fentanyl.
Here are the celebrities who have overdosed on fentanyl.
Demi Lovato, a singer, narrowly escaped death as she overdosed with heroin and fentanyl. Doctors treated her with Narcan (medication that reverses the effects of fentanyl) before it was too late.
Not all celebrities shared the same fate. Most of their outcome was fatal.
Lil Peep, American rapper – overdose of fentanyl and Xanax in 2017.
Tom Petty, American singer – accidental overdose of medication including fentanyl and oxycodone in 2017
Prince Rogers Nelson, singer and songwriter – fentanyl overdose in 2016.
Anthony Durante, professional wrestler – oxycodone and fentanyl overdose (accidental) in 2003.
What is fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic narcotic drug which is FDA approved, used as anaesthetics before surgeries or as painkillers. Doctors substitute morphine and use fentanyl in small dosages to get faster results in cases of severe pain. The drug connects to the opioid cells in the brain that boosts dopamine, pleasure, and relaxation.
Fentanyl is used for long-term treatment for pain or after serious surgeries. Medically it is either injected, used as a skin patch, or as a nasal spray.
Illegal usage and side effects of the drug
The drug has been illegally used by many. Fentanyl has become very popular in the past two years. It's a synthetic drug and can inexpensively be prepared in a lab. Studies show that it is 50-100 times stronger than morphine and heroin. If the dosage is even slightly increased, it will lead to death.
"It only takes a tiny amount of the drug to cause a deadly reaction," says Linda Richter, Ph.D., director of policy research and analysis for the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse as reported by WebMD Health News.
According to National Institutes of Health, the prescription for fentanyl has reduced but overdose cases have increased because it's cheap and easily available. The drug is usually mixed with heroin or morphine which is a dangerous combination. It is an addictive drug, if stopped, severe withdrawal symptoms are seen; stomach pain, vomiting, anxiety, insomnia are a few to name.