BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Its about 80 times more potent than morphine and 40 times stronger than heroin.
Fentanyl is a highly regulated prescription drug intended to treat trauma and cancer patients in severe pain. Now drug dealers are accessing the synthetic narcotic on the "Dark Web" and getting it delivered right to their door.
Narcotics agents in Brunswick and New Hanover counties have been finding fentanyl mixed into bags of heroin. Some bags being sold as heroin turn out to be nothing but pure fentanyl.
At such a high potency, a single speck of fentanyl can elicit a strong high. If the drug dealers get the measurement wrong, it can send a user into an overdose and become fatal. Drug agents believe fentanyl is what's behind a recent spike in overdoses throughout both counties.
When used as prescribed, fentanyl patches have helped those suffering with extreme pain finally find relief. Yet even pharmaceutical-grade fentanyl can still be abused in patch form.
A young man from the Cape Fear region will take you into the "Dark Web" Thursday night on WECT News at 11 to show you how easy dealers are accessing this dangerous drug from clandestine labs in China. You'll also hear from a self-proclaimed "soccer mom" who nearly lost everything to a prescription addiction.