Abuse of fentanyl patches on rise

Transdermal fentanyl is cementing its place as a drug of abuse which is commonly used as a heroin substitute, Australian researchers warn.

Prescriptions for the opioid, which is about 100 times more potent than morphine, increased threefold for women and twofold for men between 2006 and 2010, according to a study last month in Drug and Alcohol Review (online).

While this was partly due to a 2006 expansion of the PBS indications for the drug to include non-cancer pain, illegitimate use was also a key driver