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Alpha-MethylfentanylMethylfentanyl, also known as alpha-Methylfentanyl or α-Methylfentanyl, is a potent opioid drug and analogue of fentanyl. Fentanyl and its analogues like methylfentanyl belong to the same class of drugs as morphine and heroin.

Alpha-Methylfentanyl was invented by a team of scientists from Janssen Pharmaceuticals in the 1960s. Later in the 1970s it began to appear on the black drug market under the street name “China White”. Authorities first identified Alpha-Methylfentanyl in the bodies of two overdose victims in Orange County, California in 1979. They had all the signs of an opiate overdose, but the autopsy failed to find any classic drugs of this kind remaining in their body. Over 1980, 13 more deaths would happen as a result of Alpha-Methylfentanyl overdose.

The drug was made illegal in the USA around this time. Later it would again emerge in 1991 in Moscow. Some chemistry students in Russia discovered a unique synthesis route that made synthesis much easier. The drug became widespread around this politically unstable time in the former USSR. A spate of overdoses accompanied this, and the drug went out of production in the black market due to its notoriously low safety as a recreational compound.

As is typical of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues in general, the extreme high potency of the drug means that it is very easy to make a mistake with dosage. A very small quantity is required for an effect. The recreational dosage is many hundreds of times smaller in quantity than morphine. It is easy to see the issue with this. Fentanyl and fentanyl analogues also cause greater respiratory depression relative to the euphoria produced. For those “chasing the dragon” and taking ever higher quantities of drug to combat their building tolerance, they run the risk of death by complete suppression of their respiratory system.

The effects of Alpha-Methylfentanyl are said to be typical of fentanyl analogues.

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Note that it is actually longer acting than fentanyl itself as its structure interferes with the enzymes that metabolise the drug.

It is said to produce a physical and mental euphoria that is similar to, but less intense than morphine and heroin. It is also highly sedating and produces a calm state of mind where anxieties are reduced.

Side effects include nausea and vomiting, itching and severe respiratory depression.

Fentanyl and its analogues such as Alpha-Methylfentanyl also act on the serotonin 5HT1 receptor. It is this interaction which is thought to create the vivid and disturbing dreams associated with the drug.

Alpha-Methylfentanyl is known to by highly addictive both psychologically and physically. Coming off the drug after a period of use is accompanied by some very challenging withdrawal effects.

Symptoms of Alpha-Methylfentanyl withdrawal include sweating, headache, insomnia, fever, nausea and vomiting, rapid heart rate, racing thoughts, cramps, muscle pain, fatigue, anxiety, depression, diarrhea and strong cravings for the drug.

These effects tend to manifest between 6 to 36 hours after the last dose of the drug and will last between one to two days.