The Dark Side of the Opioid Crisis

Threat level: Level 3. In fact, we know about these Pills because the CDC is warning of them, and regulators at least partially blame the pharmaceutical companies who make the drugs for their presence in the marketplace. There are reasons why the drug companies have done this. The synthetic opioid known as fentanyl is cheap and widely available, and has a cost associated with it as a painkiller and a white-powder potent painkiller that you can use as a drug. If you’re a medical professional, that costs money. Pfizer, which made these drugs, has billions of dollars in revenue, so saving money for the FDA or the doctor becomes an important thing in their decision-making process. Another reason why there’s a specific color for the drug that’s a powder called acetylfentanyl when it’s meant to be something like a pill is because pharmacists fear having them spill onto their hands, which means you can’t know if you’ve been exposed to them unless there’s something above the glass counter. Most fentanyl is in the form of powder, as you can see by these inhaler and ice-pens these drugs are in. But the least expensive brand of this is acetyl fentanyl. It’s designed to go where fentanyl can’t, and it has to be made or manipulated in secret, so we don’t really know what’s in these secret formulations. And that might be just the point. Our limited understanding of the drugs being used at this point only sets off alarms about the seriousness of the situation, as well as people’s willingness to use them when other opioids seem to have more harmful side effects.

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