Prince death: What is Fentanyl?

[Prince died after taking an accidental overdose](http://Prince died after taking accidental overdose) of the painkiller Fentanyl which he self-administered - but what exactly is it?

  • What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a highly addictive opiate that is more 50 times more potent than heroin.

It is partly responsible for a recent surge in overdose deaths in some parts of the US.

But is also used to treat patients with severe pain, often after surgeries.

As well as a painkiller, it also acts as a tranquillizer.

  • How is it taken?

Fentanyl is often administered via injection, a medical patch or in lozenge form.

Some users also mix it with street heroin or cocaine to amplify its potency.

  • What does it do?

Like heroin and morphine the drug works by binding the body's opiate receptors - highly concentrated areas of the brain that control pain and emotions.

When taken, it drives up the brain's dopamine levels producing a state of euphoria and relaxation.

Effects include euphoria, drowsiness/respiratory depression and arrest, nausea, confusion, constipation, sedation, unconsciousness and could make users fall into a coma.

  • Is it called anything else?

Street names for the drug include Apache, China Girl, Dance Fever, Goodfella, Jackpot, Murder 8, TNT and Tango and Cash.

  • Is it legal in the UK?

Yes, brand names include Durogesic DTrans, Tilofyl and FENCINO which are commonly prescribed for long term cancer pain.