An adult male may have died from biting down on a Fentanyl patch, instantly releasing three days' worth of a drug more powerful than morphine. He was dead before he even got to the hospital.
Fentanyl, a synthetic narcotic, was introduced in the 1960s, but it was not until the early 1990s that it became available in patch form. Last year, the first generic versions of the patch hit the market.
Emergency-room visits by people misusing fentanyl rose to 8,000 nationwide between 2000 and 2004, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The first fentanyl patch was Duragesic, made by Johnson & Johnson. Sales more than tripled from 2000 to 2004, according to the Pacific Law Center in La Jolla, Calif. Worldwide sales were more than $2 billion in 2004, and half of that was in the U.S., according to the J&J's Web site.
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