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Fentanyl patches, first made Johnson and Johnson under the brand name Duragesic, have increasingly become an area for concern in recent years. Primarily designed for cancer patients and others with chronic pains, these prescription only patches are causing an alarming number of deaths in the United States alone. Many are said to be abusing the painkiller patches by squeezing the drug off the patch, by shooting it up and now by chewing on them. According to an ABC News article, John Knox, a 22-year-old construction worker is one of the latest victims in such an overdose after biting down on the patch in order to get a quick high.

According to

Fentanyl, a synthetic narcotic, was introduced in the 1960s, but it was not until the early 1990s that it became available in patch form. Last year, the first generic versions of the patch hit the market.

Emergency-room visits by people misusing fentanyl shot up nearly 14-fold to 8,000 nationwide between 2000 and 2004, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Mark Wolfe, spokesman for PriCari, the J&J unit that oversees Duragesic, said the product comes with strong “black box” warnings about the dangers of abusing Duragesic.

The dangers associated with fentanyl are becoming more and more apparent over time. From the litigation pending against the manufacture of the Duragesic patches to the escalating patch related ER visits on a daily basis. Hopefully this recent epademic of abuse by some will not clout public opinion about those people who have used it for legitimate purposes when it comes time to the Duragesic cases.

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