Fentanyl Takes Friends

What is fentanyl

Fentanyl is a powerful opioid, like heroin or morphine, but 50 - 100 times stronger. It is a prescription pain killer used to treat severe pain, especially after surgery.​

​Some people like the high they get from fentanyl and other opiates. This often leads to addiction and demand for illegal heroin or stolen prescription drugs (OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, etc.). 

Why is fentanyl such a big deal?

​In 2019, there were 71,000 drug overdose deaths in the US, most of which were from fentanyl or other synthetic opioids. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury-related deaths - almost twice as many as people die from drug overdoses than are killed in car accidents.

Many drug dealers mix the much cheaper fentanyl into other drugs like heroin, cocaine, MDMA (ecstasy/molly), and methamphetamine to increase their profits. 

Lots of pills that look real are fake. People thought they were taking ecstasy, but it was cut with fentanyl. This is causing overdose deaths in Santa Clara County. Also, people who thought they were getting heroin or OxyContin overdosed because it contained the much more powerful fentanyl. 

How Can I stay Safe?

Using any kind of drug has risks. Illegal drugs or prescription drugs obtained illegally have the highest risk because you cannot be sure what is in it or how strong it is. Opioids are the most addictive drugs and have the highest risk of overdose.

Know where your drugs come from

Drug dealers are not known for being trustworthy, but if you are going to get drugs from someone you should put some effort into reducing the risks.

Do you get drugs from someone you know or a total stranger? Have they been selling drugs for a longtime? Do they care about the people they provide drugs to? Do they have longtime satisfied customers? Do they test or use the drugs they sell?

You may not be able to answer these questions, but having a reliable source is better than getting stuff from strangers you meet online.

Don't use alone

Most overdose deaths happen when there is no one there to get help. If you are using risky drugs make sure there are other people around. If anything goes wrong, call 911 right away and stay with the person until help arrives. 

Get Naloxone Just In Case

If you use opiates or know someone who might be using them, you can get the drug Naloxone (Narcan). Naloxone can stop an overdose and save a life. 

California allows pharmacists to dispense Naloxone without a prescription. This allows friends, family, and others in the community to use the auto-injector or nasal spray versions to save someone who is overdosing. People who are or know someone at risk for an opioid overdose can be trained on how to give naloxone and can carry it with them in case of an emergency.

Is fentanyl addictive?

Fentanyl, like all opiates, is extremely addictive. Even taking prescription fentanyl as instructed by a doctor can quickly lead to dependence and addiction. 

How is Fentanyl addiction treated?

Fentanyl, like all opiates, is extremely addictive. Even taking prescription fentanyl as instructed by a doctor can quickly lead to dependence and addiction. 


​Santa Clara County Opioid Overdose Prevention Project (SCCOOPP) Website: https://bhsd.sccgov.org/information-resources/opioid-overdose-prevention-project

​SUTS Website: 


SUPS Website: 


Available at all SUTS MAT clinics:

Addresses are:

  • Central Valley Clinic  - 2425 Enborg Lane, San Jose
  • Alexian Health  Clinic - 2101  Alexian Drive, San Jose 
  • South County Clinic -90 Highland Avenue, San Martin


  • Central Valley Clinic - (408) 885-5400
  • Alexian Health  Clinic - (408)  272-6577
  • South County Clinic - (408) 852-2420

National Institute on Drug Abuse – Dr. Compton Discusses Half of the Opioid-Related Overdose Deaths Involve Fentanyl: https://www.drugabuse.gov/file/forweb-pr-nihpaincoespdf​​​


Volpe DA, Tobin GAM, Mellon RD, et al. Uniform assessment and ranking of opioid Mu receptor binding constants for selected opioid drugs. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol.2011;59(3):385-390. doi:10.1016/j.yrtph.2010.12.007

Higashikawa Y, Suzuki S. Studies on 1-(2-phenethyl)-4-(N-propionylanilino)piperidine (fentanyl) and its related compounds. VI. Structure-analgesic activity relationship for fentanyl, methyl-substituted fentanyls and other analogues. Forensic Toxicol. 2008;26(1):1-5. doi:10.1007/s11419-007-0039-1​

Nelson L, Schwaner R. Transdermal fentanyl: Pharmacology and toxicology. J Med Toxicol.2009;5(4):230-241. doi:10.1007/BF03178274
on. Acetyl fentanyl Fact Sheet. July 2015. http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_chem_info/acetylfentanyl.pdf.

Fentanyl Drug Facts. Drugabuse.gov. Retrieved July 2020 from: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/fentanyl#ref

National Institute on Drug Abuse – Dr. Compton Discusses Half of Opioid-Related Overdose Deaths Involve Fentanyl. Retrieved from: https://www.drugabuse.gov/file/forweb-pr-nihpaincoespdf


Prevention & Education

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