Acetyl Fentanyl: The Dangerous "Gray Area" Drug Posing a Serious Threat to Users


A loophole in regulation has made acetyl fentanyl, a drug up to 15 times more powerful than heroin, cheap and readily available.

Drug dealers across the nation are taking advantage of a loophole that has left the dangerous drug acetyl fentanyl relatively easy to distribute and sell. The drug sits in a legal gray area. Currently, there is no recognized medical use for the drug but there is also no law specifically regulating its use.

The reason for the drug's popularity is twofold: lack of regulation has made it readily available, and its availability has made it cheap.

Drug users may not even realize that they are using acetyl fentanyl because dealers have started to mix it with or substitute it completely for heroin. Users who think they are injecting heroin or another strong opiate may actually be injecting acetyl fentanyl, and at levels up to 15 times stronger than heroin, the consequences can be fatal.

Facts About Acetyl Fentanyl:

  • Drug experts estimate it is five to 15 times more powerful than heroin
  • Drug manufacturers and dealers sometimes mix it with heroin
  • Does not always respond to opiate reversal drugs
  • Can mimic the effects of a heroin overdose
  • When used the same way as heroin, overdoses are not just common, but likely

Naloxone May Not Be Enough

Doctors usually treat overdose patients with the opiate-reversal drug naloxone, which works by counteracting the effects of heroin and other strong opioids. However, because acetyl fentanyl is so much stronger than most drugs, naloxone may not be enough to stop a fatal overdose.

The Larger Problem

Doctors understand that naloxone alone is not enough to address the larger problem of addiction. Naloxone is a Band-Aid - an emergency response to a serious medical event. To get to the root of acetyl fentanyl, heroin, and other types of overdoses, you have to look at how to combat the tragic reality of addiction. More often than not, what users need is rehabilitation, not incarceration.

Koffel Brininger Nesbitt is committed to helping drug offenders combat their addiction from a deeply personal level. We have seen the devastating effects that drugs like heroin and acetyl fentanyl can have on individuals and families, and will do whatever it takes to ensure that offenders get the treatment they need.