The legal drug that killed Prince was 50 times stronger than heroin — here’s everything you need to know about it

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Fentanyl, the drug that killed Prince, is an opioid painkiller that’s 50 times stronger than pure heroin.

The drug is legal and can be prescribed by a doctor for a variety of conditions — most often to treat severe pain.

But it’s showing up on the street as well.

Authorities are seizing more and more of the drug in the US and Canada. The total number of reported fentanyl drug seizures in the US in 2014 jumped to 4,585, from 618 in 2012, according to The New York Times.

And it’s just one part of the far bigger issue of prescription painkiller use and abuse: Despite being home to just 5% of the world’s population, America consumes 80% of its opioids.

Read on to find out where the deadly drug is being made, what it looks like, and what it does:

SEE ALSO: What a legal drug that kills more Americans than heroin does to your body and brain

READ MORE: Prince’s official cause of death has been released

This is fentanyl. It looks like any other prescription painkiller — but it isn’t.

Fentanyl, which is also available in a patch or liquid, is 80 to 100 times more powerful than morphine and about 40 to 50 times more potent than 100% pure heroin.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Still, the drug belongs to a larger class of drugs, known as opioid painkillers, which includes prescription drugs like OxyContin and Vicodin. These drugs work by capitalizing on our body’s natural pain-relief system, and can result in a surging sense of euphoria.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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