Fentanyl is perhaps the most well-known of the synthetic opioids. It is a man-made substance created in laboratories that can relieve pain.
Illicitly-manufactured fentanyls and synthetic opioids are unregulated, so they are of unknown composition and potency. That can make it difficult to determine appropriate dosage to avoid unintentional overdose and other harms. When added to other unregulated drugs like heroin or counterfeit prescription opioids, illicitly-manufactured fentanyls and other synthetic opioids can increase overdose risk dramatically.
We must ensure that any new laws regarding fentanyl do not imitate ineffective drug war tactics by relying on criminal punishment rather than a public health approach.