Fentanyl is a powerful opiate and the cause of thousands of fatalities in the United States. These lives are lost needlessly due to opioid addiction and overdose. Prescribers and patients need education. Legislators need to spell out how to regulate opioid use. States must decide on the training and availability for the use of naloxone and opioid agonists for overdose and weaning. Healthcare professionals must learn to collaborate with pharmacists, nutritionists, and behaviorists who work with those in chronic pain to offer them more options for pain management. Schools and public officials (eg, police workers) must be able to improve security and dissuade illegal street drug sales.
Each of these proposed strategies to fight our national war on drugs is at some stage of development and implementation but they take time. The cost to implement programs, educate healthcare workers and law enforcement officers, and evaluate any negative consequences to appropriate treatment plans for pain is high. In the meantime, small efforts can save lives. Your efforts to learn more about fentanyl and its effects is a valuable part of the solution.