Fentanyl vs. Dilaudid: Use and Abuse

on Monday, 15 September 2014. Posted in Breaking News

Both Fentanyl and Dilaudid are synthetic alternatives to morphine. They both can work really well as painkillers under medical supervision, but they are also both subject to abuse.

At first, recreational use of these two drugs was mostly restricted to people who worked in healthcare facilities, and had access to these substances. However, illegal manifesting of these drugs has expanded, allowing for wider recreational use.

Although they are popularly used recreationally, they can be harmful and addictive. These are the basic differences and similarities between the two substances, but both can be dangerous even when used in a medical setting, and deadly outside of it.


Fentanyl is a very powerful synthetic opioid with very strong pain relief and anesthetic properities. Fentanyl was created in 1960 by Paul Janseen, and is 50-100 times stronger then morphine, and acts very quickly once it is in the body, making it a very effective painkiller if used properly.

It is today one of the most widely used anesthetics, and available in a variety of forms, including a patch, lollipop, spray, and tablet. It's heavy potency make it very effective for people suffering from chronic pain, and often has fewer instances of the side effects of nausea that are common in other opiates.

However, there have been a few complicated related to respiratory side effects that make breathing difficult.


Dilaudid is one of the brand names of hydomorphone, a derivative of morphine that is more soluble in water. First appearing in Germany in 1924, it can be an effective pain reliever, but also works on the central nervous system to produce drowsiness, euphoria, and cough suppression that can make an invasive, intense medical procedure go smoother.

At the same time, there is a high potential for developing dependency.

Some hospitals have experienced issues of mistaking dilaudid with morphine, and thus giving improper dosages, so today they are presented in different labels that make the distinction prominent. Overdosing is less of an issue then with fentanyl, so it can be given as needed with more freedom.

At the same time, side effects such as nausea, chest discomfort and muscle spasms, and lightheadedness may be common. According to a report by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, prescriptions for hydomorphone has increased by 228% between 1998 and 2006.

Problems of Abuse

Sometimes known by a slang term 'China white," fentanyl can have an effect similar to heroin when used recreationally. Even one dose of fentanyl can kill if is taken without a prescription.

Because fentanyl's effect last for a relatively short period of time, an addiction can be developed really quickly. Even among those using it under medical supervision, overdosing can be very dangerous.

It is both highly potent and absorbed into the body very quickly, making it very difficult for a user to control dosage or do anything to stop adverse health reactions. According to a BBC report in 2012, Estonia, where the drug was introduced 10 years ago now has the highest rate of drug-related deaths among adults in Europe.

Although dilaudids may be both less potent and less common then fentanyl, it is also abused recreationally. The process of physical withdraw is relatively mild, at least compared with other powerful morphine-like substances, with symptoms dissipating within 72 hours.

However, dilaudids create very powerful psychological dependence, and can thus be extremely addictive. Thus, attempting to quit dilaudids "cold turkey" can be extremely difficult, and can lead to anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues. The effects of dilaudid can be made particularly more dangerous through combining with alcohol and benzodiazepines.

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