Molecule of the Week


November 11, 2013

Acetylfentanyl is a derivative of the powerful pain-killing drug fentanyl. It contains an acetyl group in place of fentanyl’s propionyl group. Both drugs were developed in the late 1980s; but acetylfentanyl, a “designer drug”, was not produced for “recreational” use until earlier this year.

Canadian police discovered that large amounts of acetylfentanyl were being distributed in Canada and the northeast United States. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention subsequently issued a health alert because of 14 overdose deaths from acetylfentanyl in Rhode Island. Pennsylvania’s drug control department later reported the occurrence of 50 fatal overdoses in that state.

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Rendering of the molecule of the week: Acetylfentanyl