Fentanyl, the drug that killed Prince, is a powerful narcotic that has killed thousands of others, according to NBC News.
According to a medical examiner’s report Thursday, the pop icon died from fentanyl toxicity. The autopsy report gave no details apart from declaring that Prince died from an apparently self-administered dose of the drug.
Fentanyl was formulated in the 1950s by Belgian drug company Janssen Pharmaceutica as a safer, more effective alternative to the painkillers morphine and meperidine.
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It is the strongest opioid approved for medical use in the United States and is rated as 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the National Institute for Drug Abuse. It’s the go-to drug many patients with advanced cancer use to deal with their pain. Drug pushers will mix it with heroin or cocaine, which can increase potency and danger.
Overdoses related to the drug have killed more than 700 people across the country from late 2013 to early 2015, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.