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  • Pain is, well, a pain.

  • Triangle Bob knows that all too well.

  • Thankfully, scientists have discovered and made medicines that help alleviate pain.

  • Triangle Bob can now go back to his other job at the firework factory, thanks to these medicines.

  • These are analgesics and include over-the-counter drugs like acetaminophen that reduce inflammation and prescription opioids like fentanyl that can change your brain's perception of pain.

  • Let's focus on that last one.

  • I'm sure you've heard of fentanyl before.

  • It's been making big headlines.

  • Overdoses caused by this man-made opioid have skyrocketed in the last few years, leading many to wonder if it's such a pain to society, why does it exist in the first place?

  • Hey there, welcome to Life Noggin.

  • Fentanyl was created in 1960 by scientists looking for safer and more powerful alternatives to the available opioids, which at the time were morphine and meperidine.

  • The effects of these drugs took a while to kick in, and the team realized it was because they had trouble penetrating into the central nervous system.

  • So they focused their efforts on developing a version of these opioids that could easily make its way in.

  • What they made was fentanyl, an opioid that's about 100 times more potent than morphine.

  • It was also the fastest-acting and safest opioid at the time.

  • At first, fentanyl was administered through injection, but in the 1990s, less invasive delivery systems were created, like adhesive patches and lozenges.

  • This made it very useful for chronic pain management, as well as for recovery from an injury or surgery during cancer treatment and end-of-life care.

  • Unfortunately, it also made it easy to abuse.

  • In addition to pain relief, opioids cause a feeling of euphoria or extreme happiness, but too much can cause problems with breathing, unconsciousness, and even death.

  • Like many other addictive drugs, as you take more opioids, your brain adapts and the sensitivity diminishes.

  • This makes it harder to feel pleasure from anything but the opioid.

  • And fentanyl was designed to be a powerful opioid.

  • In addition to being more potent than morphine, it's also 50 times more potent than heroin.

  • Fentanyl abuse takes many forms, from misusing prescriptions to illegally buying and selling prescriptions to illicitly made versions, which can be the most dangerous.

  • These can be sold as powders, nasal sprays, or even pills that look like the real thing.

  • The United States Drug Enforcement Administration has found counterfeit pills containing more than twice the lethal dose of two milligrams, with 42% of the pills tested containing at least two milligrams of fentanyl.

  • And since it's so potent, drug dealers are mixing fentanyl with other drugs as a cost-effective way to produce a high, adding to an already alarming number of fentanyl-related deaths.

  • In 2021, over 70,000 people in the United States overdosed on fentanyl, and the majority of overdoses involving heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and benzodiazepines were in combination with fentanyl.

  • The scary thing is is that you can take a pill without knowing it contains fentanyl or how much fentanyl is in it.

  • This is why it's so important to understand these dangers so that you can stay safe.

  • In the United States, fentanyl is classified as a Schedule II drug, meaning it has a medical use, but also a high potential for abuse and is considered dangerous.

  • Let me know in the comments if you want me to do a video about the drug classification systems in the US.

  • It's actually really fascinating, and I think a lot of people are unfamiliar with it.

  • Or tell me, is there another drug I should do an episode on next?

  • One last thing.

  • Some people might be sharing personal stories and experiences related to fentanyl in the comments.

  • I'm asking you to please not be judgmental and instead offer support, encouragement, and understanding.

  • Thank you for watching.

  • Click here to watch another video we did on how bad vaping actually is for you, or click here to watch this mystery video.

  • Not sure what YouTube is gonna recommend, honestly.

  • Shout out to Lifespan, the team that powers Life Noggin.

  • Check them out down in the description.

  • And as always, my name is Blocko.

  • This has been Life Noggin.

  • Don't forget to keep on thinking.

Pain is, well, a pain.

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