acetylfentanyl is a synthetic opioid substance of the piperidine chemical class that produces analgesic, anxiety suppressing, and euphoric effects when administered. it is a structural analog of fentanyl. studies have estimated acetylfentanyl to be between five to fifteen times more potent than heroin, eighty times more potent than morphine, and fifteen times less potent than its parent compound, fentanyl.
this compound has never been licensed for medical use and has only been sold as a designer drug. acetylfentanyl was discovered at the same time as fentanyl and was rarely encountered on the illicit market in the late 1980s as it was never commonly used. however, recently in 2013, canadian police discovered a group distributing over 3 kilograms and 12,400 pills of acetylfentanyl (equal to 117,400 doses).
as a μ-opioid receptor agonist, acetylfentanyl may serve as a direct substitute for heroin or other μ-opioid receptor agonist substances. the side effects of fentanyl analogs are similar to those of fentanyl itself, which include itchiness, nausea and potentially fatal respiratory depression. on the street market, it and its analogs are often misrepresented as traditional opioids like heroin due to its increased potency and substantially lower production costs.
fentanyl analogs have killed hundreds of people throughout europe and the former soviet republics since the most recent resurgence in use began in estonia in the early 2000s.
acetylfentanyl is a member of the phenylpiperdine class of synthetic opioids. its structure features a piperidine ring bound at its nitrogen constituent rn to a phenyl ring through an ethyl chain. the opposite carbon of the piperidine ring is bonded to the nitrogen member of a acetamide group, a two carbon chain with a nitrogen constituent adjacent to a carbon bonded to a ketone oxygen. this acetamide group is also substituted with an additional phenyl ring at rn. acetylfentanyl is a structural homologue to fentanyl, with one less carbon on its amide chain.
the recreational effects of this compound occur because opioids structurally mimic endogenous endorphins which are naturally found within the body and also work upon the μ-opioid receptor set. the way in which opioids structurally mimic these natural endorphins results in their physical euphoria, pain relief and anxiolytic effects. this is because endorphins are responsible for reducing pain, causing sleepiness, and feelings of pleasure. they can be released in response to pain, strenuous exercise, orgasm, or general excitement.
acetylfentanyl’s strong potency in relation to that of morphine is largely due to its high lipophilicity, which is the ability of a chemical compound to dissolve in fats, oils, and lipids. because of this, it can more easily penetrate the central nervous system in comparison to other opioids.