(CNN) - Fentanyl is now the most commonly used drug involved in drug overdoses, according to a 2018 government report. The latest numbers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics say that the rate of drug overdoses involving the synthetic opioid skyrocketed by about 113% each year from 2013 through 2016.
Synthetic opioids are manmade drugs such as fentanyl, as opposed to semi-synthetic opioids such as hydrocodone and oxycodone, or natural opioids such as codeine and morphine. Fentanyl binds more completely to opioid recepters in the brain than most other opioids do, thus making it more effective and so much more deadly.
Fentanyl is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin, and just ¼ of a milligram can be deadly. For comparison, a standard low-dose aspirin is 81 milligrams. If you were to cut that tablet into 324 pieces, one of those pieces would equal ¼ milligram. About a third of that same aspirin is considered a deadly dose of heroin.