Anthony M. Salerno

Attorney At Law

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Anthony M. Salerno

Attorney At Law

Fentanyl use in Massachusetts

On Behalf of | Jul 22, 2020 | Drug Charges

In 2017, almost 2,000 people in Massachusetts died from an overdose of opioids. Where toxicology screens were available, 83% demonstrated the involvement of fentanyl specifically in the overdose death. Citing official and reputable sources at the state and national level, AdCare Treatment Facility reports that the number of Massachusetts residents directly impacted by the epidemic of opioid overdose is one out of four. 

Illicit opioid use is widespread across the entire Eastern Seaboard. In 2016, Massachusetts had the second-highest number of reports to law enforcement for fentanyl in the United States. The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies fentanyl, an extremely potent synthetic opioid, as a Schedule II controlled substance because, although it has accepted medical use as an effective painkiller, it also has extremely high abuse potential. 

How do people obtain fentanyl illicitly?

There are clandestine laboratories where people manufacture fentanyl illegally. However, because fentanyl is a frequently prescribed drug, it is also possible to divert fentanyl prescribed and obtained legally for illicit purposes. 

How do people use fentanyl?

It is common to use fentanyl alone by ingesting, injecting, snorting or sniffing it. However, fentanyl use also often occurs in combination with other drugs, not always with the user’s knowledge. It is a common but potentially dangerous practice to cut drugs such as cocaine or heroin with fentanyl to stretch them. 

What makes fentanyl dangerous?

Fentanyl is absorbable through the skin, and while this provides an effective route of administration for people who need it, it also makes overdose more likely. Fentanyl is more than 50 times more potent than heroin, which means an overdose can occur from exposure to a very small amount.