At least nine people have died in recent weeks in Sacramento after taking fentanyl pills made to look like Norco painkillers.
Fentanyl is considered 25 to 50 times more potent than heroin, and 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Officials aren't sure how they're being disguised as Norco painkillers. Here's a brief description of both drugs:
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, fentanyl is a synthetic opiate that is more potent than morphine. It is available by prescription and typically used to treat chronic or severe pain. Narconon, the drug rehabilitation program, notes that fentanyl is addictive, and that fentanyl abuse can cause euphoria, drowsiness, lethargy and mellowness, among other symptoms.
Norco is the name of a drug that combines the painkillers acetaminophen and hydrocodone, according to the National Institutes of Health. It is prescribed to relieve moderate to severe pain, and some websites compare it to Vicodin.