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Get the Facts

What is the difference between pharmaceutical fentanyl and Fake Fentanyl?

Pharmaceutical Fentanyl 

A synthetic opioid prescribed by doctors to treat severe pain, usually following surgery, or for pain associated with advanced-stage cancer. This drug is similar to morphine, but is about 100 times more powerful. Pharmaceutical fentanyl is made in pharmaceutical labs, is FDA approved, and is legally used in hospitals and hospice care.

Fake Fentanyl

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Majority made in Mexico, with ingredients supplied from China. Ingredients are poured into various containers, such as large buckets or large cook pots, then stirred with paint mixers attached to electric drills or paddles or even sticks. Then packaged into bricks to later be poured into pill molds or mixed into various other distribution forms.


There are no testing protocols, no measuring protocols, and no sanitation protocols. The result of this is a product that is impossible to have any consistency in Potency and especially toxicity. 

More Than Pills

Illegally made fentanyl (IMF) is available on the drug market in different forms, including liquid and powder.

Powdered fentanyl looks just like many other drugs. It is commonly mixed with drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine and made into pills that are made to resemble other prescription opioids. Fentanyl-laced drugs are extremely dangerous, and many people may be unaware that their drugs are laced with fentanyl.

In its liquid form, IMF can be found in nasal sprays, eye drops, and dropped onto paper or small candies.

Image by Louis Reed

Local -

  • Fake Fentanyl is being mixed with other drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and MDMA. Its being made to look identical to every prescription drug that can be used to get high off of without you being able to visually tell the difference

  • Spokane County has been deemed a fentanyl "crisis spot" by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, one of only 11 federally designated areas in the country (and the only one in Washington) noted for their extraordinary rate of increase in fentanyl overdose deaths, and as a hub for distribution of fentanyl in the northwest.

  • For the third straight month, the CDC has issued a report that finds Washington having the negative distinction of seeing the fastest drug-overdose death rate increase of any state in the country. According to the CDC, Washington has seen a nation-leading 28.4% increase in drug-overdose deaths between March 2022 and March 2023 (up from 23.9% for the period between February 2022 and February 2023). Oregon ranks second at 19.6%, followed by Nevada (19%) and Alabama (14%). The national average is a minuscule 0.1% increase.But, according to the latest CDC report, Washington now leads the country not just in the percentage increase in deaths, but also the number of increased deaths (688 more than in the prior 12-month period).

  • SPOKANE COUNTY MEDICAL EXAMINER 2022 ANNUAL REPORT:  In 2022, There were nearly 5 times as many drug-related deaths as motor vehicle fatalities. From 2021 to 2022, there was a 36.1% increase in fentanyl-related overdose deaths in Spokane County, Continuing a trend which has resulted in an astonishing 425% increase from 2020 to 2022. Fentanyl was detected in 72% of all accidental overdoses in 2022. 

  • In 2022  elicit drugs were detected in 47% of all traffic fatalities that occurred within the boundaries of Spokane County.

National -

  • Fake Fentanyl is the greatest threat to Americans today. It is the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 18 to 45.

  • Americans today are experiencing the most devastating drug crisis in our nation’s history. This is because one drug—fake fentanyl—has transformed the criminal landscape. fake fentanyl is exceptionally cheap to make, exceptionally easy to disguise, and exceptionally deadly to those who take it. "Xylazine is making the deadliest drug threat our country has ever faced, fentanyl, even deadlier," said Administrator Milgram. "DEA has seized xylazine and fentanyl mixtures in 48 of 50 States."

  • From February 2022 through January 2023, 110,000 people lost their lives to drug poisonings in the United States. Every day, 300 people die from drug poisonings. Countless more people are poisoned and survive. These drug poisonings are a national crisis. 

  • January 26, 2023: Last month, DEA announced nationwide seizure totals of over 50.6 million fentanyl pills and more than 10,500 pounds of fentanyl powder. The DEA Laboratory estimates that these seizures represent more than 379 million potentially deadly doses of fentanyl, which equates to enough fentanyl to kill every American.

Whether you're a teenager, young adult, parent, or grandparent, there are important facts you need to know about Fake Fentanyl, the drug that has made it's way into Spokane. 

*Sources are cited at the bottom of this page.*

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