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Para-fluorofentanyl Increasingly Found In Fatal Overdoses

Para-flourofentanyl, a fentanyl analog that is even stronger than its predecessor, has increasingly been found in the blood of overdose victims, according to a report by the CDC. While many people may not be aware they’re taking the drug, it’s now commonly added to counterfeit fentanyl pills, often with deadly results.

What Is Para-fluorofentanyl?

Para-Fluorofentanyl is an opioid analgesic analog of fentanyl, a drug commonly used in surgeries due to its painkilling and sedative powers. Fentanyl is the top cause of overdose deaths in the United States and is often found as an additive to drugs. Many users who are inexperienced with opioids end up overdosing when exposed for the first time.

Initially developed by Janssen Pharmaceutica in the 1960s,  p-Fluorofentanyl never made it to market. Amateur chemists tried to sell it on the streets in the early 1980s. However, drug laws changed and made it illegal to sell or manufacture fentanyl analogs for recreational use.

This has helped US authorities keep dangerous amounts of pills off the street.

Where Are They Finding Para-fluorofentanyl?

Para-fluorofentanyl has been found in overdose deaths in 42 states and the District of Columbia. Among 42 states§ and the District of Columbia. According to CDC research, between June 2020 and June 2021, Para-fluorofentanyl was found in 1,658 (2.6%) of 64,915 overdose deaths.

Para-fluorofentanyl–involved deaths increased over the months that the drug was being monitored in overdose victims. While there were just five cases in the supply starting in September 2021, by May 2021, there were 293 deaths in a month.

Preventing Para-Flourofentanyl Deaths

Because this drug is relatively new, investigators have yet to figure out the best way to prevent deaths. Fentanyl testing strips can detect the drug as fentanyl, but there is no way to guess the actual potency of the drug. If the drug is detected, users may mistake it for fentanyl and accidentally overdose by underestimating its strength.

People who use opioids must arm themselves with tools like fentanyl testing strips. Naloxone, an overdose-reversal drug, is also an essential harm reduction tool for opioid users.

There isn’t a safe way to use opioids, however. Treatment is the best option if you or a loved one is struggling with opioid use. Many options are available for a person ready to get sober. Treatment for opioids is available in every state.