Synthetic opioids more deadly than prescription opioids, report finds

May 17, 2018 - 3:00 am

KYW’s Medical Reports Sponsored By Independence Blue Cross. 

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- There is a critical problem with opioid addiction in the United States. According to a new report looking at data from the national cause of death file, synthetic opioids may be playing the greatest role in this issue. 

Traditional opioids come from the poppy plant, but synthetic opioids were first developed in 1960 by Paul Jansen, the founder of Jansen Pharmaceuticals. He synthesized fentanyl in a lab and it was approved for medical use in 1968. 

Fentanyl provided high potency and the ability to synthesize a drug without having to grow a feel of poppies.

To give you an idea of the pricing and the money to be made, a 1kg block of fentanyl costs about $10 million on the black market, compared to only $200,000 for a kilogram of heroin.