Fentanyl [N-(1-Phenethyl-4-piperidyl)-propionanilid] is a synthetic anaesthetic and opioid analgesic with substantially stronger potency (approx. 70fold) than morphine. It was used since 1963 first in the anestetics. Abuse as "synthetic morphine" occurs. Fentanyl is a schedule II drug according the misuse of drugs act, its derivates are schedule I drugs.
From it in the USA designer drugs, e.g. Methylfentanyle (1979, "China White") were derived by small molecule modifications in particular, which are much more potent (10 to 1000fold than Fentanyl). Cases of heavy breath depression and coma by overdosing are admitted.
According to data of the Russian government a gaseous Fentanyl derivative was used also for the preparation of hostage release in a Muscovite theatre in October 2002, whereby over 100 deaths occurs.
Fentanyl derivatives can be used because of its effectiveness (100fold to 7500fold opposite morphine) as alternative in the pain therapy, whereby an extremely low dosage is possible by means of dermal patches, while with illegal consumption by injection the danger of a deadly overdosing exists.