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What is fentanyl? 10 things to know about the potentially deadly drug

The powerful drug fentanyl claimed the life of music legend Prince in 2016 and has, in recent years, largely contributed to the next wave of America’s opioid crisis.

>> Read more trending news

Here are 10 things you should know about fentanyl:

What is fentanyl?

Fentanyl, also known as Actiq, Duragesic or Sublimaze in its prescription form, is an especially potent painkiller developed in the 1960s used to treat extreme pain.

According to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, strains of fentanyl can be 50 times more powerful than morphine.

>> Related: What is fentanyl and how does it kill?

Some street names for the drug (or for non-pharmaceutical fentanyl-laced heroin) include Apache, China Girl, China White, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfella, Jackpot, Murder 8, TNT and Tango and Cash, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Where is fentanyl manufactured?

According to a recent U.S. government report, fentanyl in recent years has been traced back to illegal labs in China and Mexico, trafficked to countries (like the U.S.), laced with heroin and sold to buyers who have no knowledge of the drug’s presence.

When do doctors prescribe fentanyl?

Physicians prescribe fentanyl as a pain reliever or anesthesia, typically for opioid-tolerant patients undergoing heart surgery (as anesthesia), cancer patients already receiving maintenance opioid medication for pain or patients with chronic pain who need around-the-clock opioids.

>> Related: DEA: N. Fulton woman detained; sold fentanyl to undercover agents

The controlled substance can be legally prescribed via injection, patch, lozenges or lollipop.

What are the side effects of fentanyl?

From the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Weakness
  • Dry mouth
  • Constricted pupils
  • Unconsciousness
  • Slowed respirations
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Flushing
  • Confusion
  • Stiff or rigid muscles
  • Tight feeling in the throat
  • Difficulty concentrating

How does fentanyl work?

Fentanyl (and other opioids) binds to receptors in parts of the brain that control pain and emotions, increasing dopamine levels and creating a state of euphoria.

What makes fentanyl so dangerous?

Like any opiate, fentanyl use can increase the risk of dependency and lead to both abuse and addiction.

When the drug isn’t properly ingested as prescribed or is consumed illicitly or accidentally, just one small dose can result in death.

>> Related: Death toll rises in mass overdose in central Georgia

Because fentanyl is so highly potent, drug dealers have increasingly been mixing heroin, oxycodone or Xanax with fentanyl, deceiving buyers who are unaware that a powder or pill contains the drug.

But this deception, according to Harvard Medical School, is proving fatal.

One strain of fentanyl (furanyl fentanyl) is so potent that you could die from just touching it, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

The furanyl fentanyl, labeled and sold as oxycodone pills and powder, caused 19 deaths in Georgia from 2016 to 2017.

Some of the opioid receptors in the brain that fentanyl binds to also help control breathing, but high doses of opioids such as fentanyl (usually consumed accidentally or illicitly) can stop someone from breathing altogether, killing them.

Read more here.

Don't worry, Whataburger isn't closing all its stores in 2018

That sound you just heard was all of America letting out a collective sigh of relief.

Despite what you may have seen on social media, Whataburger is not closing all its stores next year.

>> Read more trending news

Joining the battle against fake news, the beloved Texas-based fast-food chain addressed the article Wednesday, reassuring Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit-lovers that their favorite late-night or early-morning or any-time-of-day-or-night food stop isn’t going anywhere.

The original article, which has been shared widely on Facebook, was posted to a hoax “news” site — once a user clicks on the story, they’re greeted by the Yao Ming Face meme with a caption saying “You Got Owned,” followed by text saying “You’ve Been Pranked!” and requesting that users “Create a story and prank your friends!” The bottom of the site clarifies its status as a “prank website that is intended for fun” and says, “We do NOT support FAKE NEWS!!! [sic]”

Don’t believe everything you see on the internet, folks.

Woman faints after breaking $44K jade bracelet at China market

A Chinese tourist was so amazed at the price of a jade bracelet, in her haste to take it off, she dropped it and broke it, fainting at the shock of the broken bangle.

>> Read more trending news

The woman was visiting a market in Ruili, near the border of Myanmar, on Tuesday when the vendor told her the bracelet she was wearing cost $44,000, according to the BBC.

She quickly tried to take it off and that’s when it fell and broke.

After her family placed her on the floor to revive her, they tried to negotiate how much to repay the vendor, the BBC reported, but they were unable to reach an agreement. The seller demanded $25,000, but the woman said she could only afford $1,500.

Jade is a symbol of good health and a long life to the Chinese.

In other places, like the U.S., it represents wisdom, balance and peace. 

Read more here

Woman 'personally offended' TSA took photo with lobster

The woman whose lobster has reached internet fame after a TSA agent took a photo with it is telling the agent to "mind his own business."

>> Read more trending news

"When is it okay to go through someone's checked baggage and take photographs?" Lisa Feinman wrote on the Atlantic Seafood Market's Facebook page. 

Feinman, owner of the Atlantic Seafood Market in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, said she had 12 other lobsters on top of the large lobster in the TSA photo. 

>> Related: TSA pulls giant lobster from suitcase at Boston airport

"I am personally offended by this because I packed this checked cooler with care and concern for the lobsters and my customers' personal property," she said.

The Atlantic Seafood Market has rave reviews and many awards, known for its fresh seafood and prepared seafood. 

"Seriously, nothing better to do?” Feinman wrote on Facebook. “Do your job and leave our personal property alone.”

The TSA has the right to go through any checked or carry-on luggage and search it. 

Florida mother ignored 4-year-old’s gunshot wound for weeks, police say

A Florida mother is accused of not taking her 4-year-old daughter to the hospital until weeks after the child accidentally shot herself, authorities said. 

>> Read more trending news 

Shanquisha Lashay Upshaw, 23, of Lehigh Acres, and her daughter were staying at a friend’s house when police said the child shot herself in the leg, according to News-Press

» Florida couple smoked heroin in front of child, 7, and undercover cop

However, Fort Myers police said, the child wasn’t taken to the hospital until two weeks later, when she was turned over to her father. The father noticed the girl limping and in pain, News-Press reported. 

Upshaw allegedly knew there was a gun at the friend’s house and that it was easily accessible to the child, according to News-Press.

Upshaw was charged with felony aggravated child neglect. 

Read more at News-Press

Hugh Jackman hits big top with ‘The Greatest Showman’

Hugh Jackman has retired the claws of Wolverine and is returning to the stage, partially.

Jackman is staring as P.T. Barnum in a new movie musical and biopic, “The Greatest Showman.”

>> Read more trending news

The first trailer dropped Wednesday.

The movie is scheduled to hit theaters on Christmas Day. Along with Jackman, it stars Zac Efron, Michelle Williams and Zendaya.

Jackman has appeared on the stage and in big screen movie adaptation of the hit Broadway musical, “Les Miserables.” He has also hosted the Tony awards four times and won for his role as Peter Allen in “The Boy from Oz.”

"The Greatest Showman” will be released less than a year after the Barnum and Bailey Circus closed.

The final show was performed in front of a sold-out crowd in New York in May.

Wrestling villain 'Progressive Liberal' wears Hillary on his shirt, irks conservative crowds

A wrestler on the Kentucky’s Appalachian Mountain Wrestling circuit is drawing attention and, in some places, scorn for his own brand of political speech.

Daniel Harnsberger, who wrestles under the name of the “Progressive Liberal” Daniel Richards, regularly irks crowds through Appalachia with taunts about country living and conservative politics, according to a Washington Post story.

Some of Harnsberger’s taunts:

“You know what, I think Bernie Sanders would make a great secretary of state.”

“I understand now why you all identify with country music. It’s slow and it’s simple and it’s boring, just like each and every one of you.”

“You people need to be reprogrammed. You continually vote against your own interests. You put people in Congress and the White House that aren’t going to help you. They’re not going to bring your jobs back.”

According to an article about Harnsberger that appeared in Sports Illustrated, the shtick is actually pretty close to how he feels about the current political climate. When asked about his own political views, Harnsberger said, “… I have a platform to express any frustrations and say what’s on my mind on the Appalachian Mountain Wrestling television program that airs locally there in Kentucky. We’re trying to get coverage in a couple more states, which we’re on the verge of doing, and this will probably help. But yeah, it helps me blow off some steam.”

Harnsberger further eggs-on his audiences by wearing a T-shirt covered with pictures of Hillary Clinton. Harnsberger said he voted for Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

“I definitely wanted her to pull it out,” Harnsberger told “Three million more people voted for her than Trump, but we have this electoral college, which I’ve never understood, even when I was a kid. It just makes it to where only a few states matter. I’m lucky I live in Virginia for that reason. When I go to vote, it’s like OK, this matters. …” 

Deputies: Mother locks 11-year-old in car, sets it on fire

Authorities arrested a 48-year-old woman on Tuesday after she was accused of binding her 11-year-old son’s wrists, locking him in a car and setting it on fire at a Michigan cemetery, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

>> Read more trending news

Deputies and firefighters were called around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday by the suspect’s 50-year-old husband, who was worried that his wife might have harmed their son. Officials learned the couple’s car was on fire at Roselawn Memorial Park in LaSalle Township.

Deputies found a smoking 2014 Ford Focus at the cemetery, but neither the woman nor her son were nearby. Authorities found the pair talking to staff in a different part of the cemetery and arrested the woman on charges of attempted murder and arson.

She was taken to ProMedica Monroe Regional Hospital for evaluation. Her son was also taken to the hospital and later released.

Authorities said a preliminary investigation found the mother bound her son’s wrists and locked him inside the Focus. She set fire to the trunk of the car as the boy struggled to get out, deputies said.

“The mother later attempted to ignite a fire using gasoline inside the passenger compartment where the boy sat,” deputies said in a news release. “This fire did not ignite.”

When the fire failed to catch, the woman let her son out of the car and walked away. The pair found a cemetery employee, who freed the boy from his bindings, according to authorities.

Deputies continue to investigate the case.

Spider-Man drops in on Starbucks customers for prank

Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man just had to drop in to a New York City Starbucks to get a refreshing cold brew.

During the prank, set up by Sony as a promotion for the upcoming film, one of the stunt doubles for Tom Holland dropped into the shop from the ceiling, dressed in his full Spidey garb, reaching for his drink, Entertainment Tonight reported.

>> Read more trending news

The customers and the employees were all real. Well, most of the customers. An eagle-eyed fan may have noticed comic creator Stan Lee in the corner snapping photos.

And as expected, the surprise was taken well by many, but a few were caught off guard, letting some NSFW comments slip. Click here to watch the video.

TSA begins searching books before travelers board planes

The TSA is testing a new policy under which passengers will be asked to separate their reading materials from the rest of their carry-on luggage so agents can fan through the pages to see if anything dangerous is hidden inside.

>> Read more trending news 

Right now, the book searches are happening at just a few airports, but Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said in a recent television interview that the process could expand nationwide.

Though the TSA insists agents will not pay attention to the contents of your reading material, there’s no way to verify or enforce that neutrality. Some already believe the TSA doesn’t pick passengers for extra screening as randomly as it claims. And some say it would be easy for agents to unfairly scrutinize people reading controversial political or religious content — or just an author the agent happens to dislike.

The policy also raises a new privacy concern. The United States has “a long history of special legal protection for the privacy of one’s reading habits,” notes privacy expert Jay Stanley in an analysis of the TSA’s plan for the ACLU. That history includes “numerous Supreme Court and other court decisions, [plus] state laws that criminalize the violation of public library reading privacy or require a warrant to obtain book sales, rental or lending records.”

“A person who is reading a book entitled ‘Overcoming Sexual Abuse’ or ‘Overcoming Sexual Dysfunction’ is not likely to want to plop that volume down on the conveyor belt for all to see,” Stanley said. Or what if you’re learning Arabic or studying advanced mathematics? Critics have pointed out that both of those activities attracted airport security scrutiny even before implementation of a nationwide book screening. 

Some say scholars are especially at risk of running afoul of the TSA under this new program. “Academics are unsurprisingly big readers, and since we don’t simply read for pleasure, we often read materials with which we disagree or which may be seen by others as offensive,” said Henry Reichman, chair of the American Association of University Professors’ Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure.

“For instance, a scholar studying terrorism and its roots may well be reading — and potentially carrying on a plane — books that others might see as endorsing terrorism,” he said. 

Read more of this editorial piece at

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