What is the pharmaceutical use of fentanyl

Fentanyl patch abuse

Fentanyl is up to 80 times more potent than morphine. In transdermal systems that are used to treat severe pain, a large amount of active ingredient will remain after three days if removed in good time. Depending on the patch, the initial active ingredient content is 1.4 to 34.65 mg fentanyl, with a maximum of 150 µg being released from the depot per hour. Correctly used patches still contain up to 70 percent of the original fentanyl dose.


According to the Federal Drug Commissioner, there is no nationwide statistical processing of the misuse of fentanyl patches. But there are consistent reports from different federal states. Reports have come from Bavaria that several people have already died as a result of the improper use of fentanyl patches. The Bavarian State Criminal Police Office also provides information about this. An overdose of the highly effective drug threatens respiratory arrest and cardiovascular failure.


Black trade is flourishing


Aside from cannibalizing used pain plasters, there are other procurement phenomena: Drug addicts try to get fentanyl-containing pain plasters through doctor hopping - i.e. contacting new doctors over and over again. Apparently there is also an active black market in fentanyl patches in the scene. The public prosecutor's office is investigating several cases.


Drug addicts or drug dealers are very creative in developing successful procurement strategies. Tim Pfeiffer-Gerschel, head of the German Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (DBDD), knows very well how to argue to get doctors to prescribe fentanyl patches. Pfeiffer-Gerschel sees the black market in fentanyl patches as the main problem based on its own surveys by the DBDD. The problem that used plasters are cannibalized does exist, but is overrated in his opinion.