Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is used in medical practice as a pain medication and anesthetic. It is also produced illegally and has been identified in the illicit drug market throughout Maryland, as well as in neighboring states and Canada.

Pure fentanyl is extremely potent – about 100 times more potent than morphine – and can therefore be toxic in small amounts. Fentanyl or one of its analogs can be mixed with and sold as heroin, cocaine, and other drugs, or pressed into fake prescription pills. Fentanyl is often unable to be detected by look, smell or taste. Because of this, a substance may be much more toxic than the person who is buying and using it realizes.

Overdoses involving fentanyl can occur more suddenly and may be more likely to result in death. In the first half of 2016, deaths related to fentanyl accounted for about half of all unintentional intoxication deaths in Maryland.

An overdose involving fentanyl can be reversed with naloxone; however, it is important to administer naloxone as quickly as possible, and multiple doses may be necessary. When an opioid overdose is encountered, call 911 immediately. More information and resources regarding fentanyl can be found below.​

Fentanyl and Overdose: Harm Reduction Strategies Webinar, December 20th, 2016 

View the webinar:

1.             Click the link below to be taken to a registration page.

2.             Enter your first name, last name, and email address.

3.             Click “Register.”

4.             The webinar recording will open and begin to play. 


“Fentanyl and Overdose: Harm Reduction Strategies” webinar slides


Maryland Fentanyl Resources:

Overdose Data and Reports

Fentanyl fact sheet ​

Public Awareness Campaign

Baltimore City Fentanyl Task Force

Baltimore City Fentanyl Flyer


Additional Public Education Materials:

Fentanyl Is In NYC Poster

Waterloo, Canada Fentanyl Poster​ 

Know Your Source, Canadian website with information about fentanyl and posters for download 

Other Links and Resources:

DEA Fentanyl Alert March 2015

DEA Emerging Threat Report Mid-Year 2016

CDC Fentanyl AlertOctober 2015 

DEA Counterfeit Prescription Pill and Fentanyl Warning July 2016

CDC Fentanyl-laced Counterfeit Pill Alert August 2016

National Drug EarlyWarning System (NDEWS) Webinar: “Understanding the Relationship betweenPrescription Opioid Misuse and Heroin Abuse” including findings from ethnographic research with drug users in Baltimore (presentation starts from 55:15) 

“Emerging IllicitFentanyl Overdose Epidemic: the View from Rhode Island”​ including findings from real-time ethnographic surveillance of drug users in Rhode Island (from slide 59)​