An acetyl fentanyl case may indicate that a dealer failed to appropriately dilute the compound prior to providing it to customers. “The authorities should be notified and advised that acetyl fentanyl or acetyl fentanyl–contaminated heroin may be on the streets,” Dr. Stogner said.
“Clever and well-informed drug-distribution networks will likely take advantage of the legal loophole and profit by replacing or cutting a highly regulated drug with this less-regulated one,” Dr. Stogner said. “The significant potential for overdose of acetyl fentanyl necessitates more medical research and policy reform.”
According to the Annals study, because of acetyl fentanyl’s smaller potential user base, it is not expected to become as widespread as other novel drugs such as synthetic cannabinoids.
Karen Appold is a medical writer in Pennsylvania.
- Stogner JM. The potential threat of acetyl fentanyl: legal issues, contaminated heroin, and acetyl fentanyl “disguised” as other opioids. An. Emerg Med. 2014. Aug 7. [Epub ahead of print]
- Acetyl fentanyl (N-(1-phenethylpiperidin-4-yl)-N-phenylacetamide), December 2013. Drug Enforcement Administration Web site. Available at: http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_chem_info/acetylfentanyl.pdf. Accessed September 25, 2014.
- Lank PM, Pines E, Mycyk MB. Emergency physicians’ knowledge of cannabinoid designer drugs. West J Emerg Med. 2013;14:467-470.