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What is Para-Fluorofentanyl?

by Will Long

March 13, 2022

What is Para-Fluorofentanyl?

Commonly referred to as “China White,” para-fluorofentanyl is a dangerous opioid that’s being encountered more frequently across the United States. The drug has recently been linked to overdose deaths in several southern states, including Arizona, Louisiana and Tennessee. Clinical research indicates that para-fluorofentanyl (pFF) is much stronger than regular fentanyl, which is already 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine. Like most opioids, para-fluorofentanyl can be very addictive and may require drug detox and treatment to overcome. Landmark Recovery offers inpatient and outpatient rehab services to help those who are addicted to opioids.

Para-fluorofentanyl is a type of fluorofentanyl, which is a specific kind of fentanyl that includes the related drug ortho-fluorofentanyl. Fentanyl analogues carry much more risk than traditional fentanyl due to how varied their relative strength can be compared to other opiates. When clandestine chemists create drugs or additives for a particular supply, different manufacturing methods can produce different forms of synthetic opioids like fentanyl during chemical synthesis.

Drug Contamination from Para-Fluorofentanyl

Most of the time, other forms of fentanyl are created as a byproduct when making a synthetic opioid to sell; the synthetic opioid is then cut into the drug either intentionally or unintentionally by the manufacturer in the clandestine drug lab. This is one major reason why the illegal black market supply of opioid drugs in particular is so dangerous compared to regulated pharmaceutical supplies.

In general, para-fluorofentanyl is almost exactly like regular fentanyl, but with more receptor selectivity. Compared to how large of a share fentanyl has in the drug market as a contaminant, other analogue forms of the drug have had explosive growth rates in terms of how much is detected in illegal drug supplies.

PFF Overdoses

An overdose from para-fluorofentanyl is just like a regular fentanyl overdose, where high doses depress respiration and heart activity. Hundreds of thousands of people in the US have died from overdoses since the late 1990s. Almost 10% of these incidents occurred in 2019 alone. Opioids are the main cause of drug overdose deaths, with synthetic opioids (like para-fluorofentanyl) taking the lead. A steadily increasing amount of overdose deaths involve other drugs like methamphetamines with or without opioid involvement.

There’s some evidence that para-fluorofentanyl might have been the substance that was originally referred to as China White decades ago, when mysterious non-heroin overdoses started occurring on the West Coast from purchased supply thought to be heroin by the buyers. The effects of these overdoses were stymied by the use of naloxone, but they would test negative for opiates. No one knew that it was a fentanyl analogue at the time due to limitations in forensic capabilities, but the CDC has reason to believe this was the mysterious white powder referred to in the police reports.

In East Tennessee alone, police have found 48 out of 572 tragic overdose deaths tested positive for para-fluorofentanyl between the years of 2020 and 2021. There’s been a renewed call for vigilance in Ohio neighborhoods with greater frequency of fluorofentanyl forms in drug supplies.

Learn More About Opioid Addiction Treatment

Fentanyl remains an incredibly dangerous part of our fight to end opioid overdoses in the United States. Landmark Recovery is proud to offer one of the most cutting edge treatment services in the county. If you want to experience what recovery is like for yourself or a loved one, give us a call at 888-448-0302 today.

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About the Author

Will Long

Will Long

A graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, Long has been a writer for Landmark Recovery since 2021. He specializes in research and writing about substance abuse from a scientific and social perspective. Unearthing information from underexplored, far-flung corners of the Internet, Long’s passion is finding emerging trends in substance use and treatment that the public should know about.