The Michigan Poison & Drug Information Center at the Wayne State University School of Medicine has issued a warning about the risks associated with synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, in Michigan.
Fentanyl is a highly potent synthetic opioid used to treat patients with severe pain. It is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin. Fentanyl can be detected by toxicology screening. However, para-fluorofentanyl (4-fluorofentanyl or pFF) and other fentanyl analogs are not detectable via routine toxicology testing. Many analogs are more potent than fentanyl and have been detected with increasing frequency in illicit drug supplies throughout Michigan.
Users may not be aware of the presence of fentanyl and other adulterants in recreational and illicit drug supplies, including heroin and cocaine. Fentanyl has been substituted for various opioids, such as oxycodone, bought illicitly or on the Internet. Unexpected fentanyl, especially when mixed with or substituted for other medications, place unsuspecting users at high risk for drug-related respiratory failure and many other life-threatening overdose symptoms. Opioids, including fentanyl, can cause severe toxicity, sedation, slowed or absent breathing, coma and death.
The Michigan Poison & Drug Information Center strongly suggests obtaining the opioid antagonist naloxone in case of inadvertent overdose. Naloxone kits are available from the center by contacting the education line directly at 1-313-887-0287.
Call 911 immediately if you suspect someone has been exposed to an opioid-laced substance and is not breathing. Naloxone may be lifesaving, but is not a replacement for emergency medical care.
For questions regarding fentanyl or any other substances:
- Call the center at 1-800-222-1222.
- Contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at 800-662-4357 for resources and to connect with local substance abuse treatment centers.
- Call Never Use Alone at 800-484-3731 or visit NeverUseAlone.com for other assistance.
Clinicians who suspect cases that may be related to fentanyl or other synthetic opioids should contact the center. Report any cases to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Drug Poisoning Surveillance Team at MDHHS-MODASurveillance@michigan.gov.
The Michigan Poison & Drug Information Center is available day and night, every day of the year. If you have questions or concerns about substance use, drug safety or any other poison-related issue call 1-800-222-1222.