Fentanyl: the deadly drug overtaking America's heroin epidemic

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...

Fentanyl: the deadly drug overtaking America's heroin epidemic

America's heroin epidemic is being overtaken by another deadly drug addiction: fentanyl.

Fentanyl is an opioid painkiller 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine.

Fentanyl's stronger, fast-acting high keeps addicts coming back and makes overdoses frequent.

The CDC reports roughly 5,500 people died from fentanyl overdoses in 2014. Fentanyl overdoses increased by 88% between 2013 and 2014 and is still on the rise.

SEE ALSO: Pure caffeine powder is killing young people

Fentanyl made headlines when it was identified as the cause of music legend Prince's death.

Some dealers trick addicts by combining fentanyl with other drugs, like heroin, because it's cheaper.

The drug can be taken as patch or pill but is usually abused intravenously.

Doctors prescribe fentanyl to cancer patients when routine pain medicine isn't strong enough. Prescription fentanyl brands include Subsys, Actiq, Gentora, Abstral, and Onsolis.

Click through the gallery below to see photos of fentanyl:

5 PHOTOS
Learn more about fentanyl
See Gallery
Learn more about fentanyl
A seized counterfeit hydrocodone tablets in the investigation of a rash of fentanyl overdoses in northern California is shown in this Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) photo released on April 4, 2016. At least 42 drug overdoses in the past two weeks have been reported in northern California, 10 of them fatal, in what authorities on Monday called the biggest cluster of poisonings linked to the powerful synthetic narcotic fentanyl ever to hit the U.S. West Coast. REUTERS/Drug Enforcement Administration/Handout via Reuters
Fentanyl Citrate, a CLASS II Controlled Substance as classified by the Drug Enforcement Agency in the secure area of a local hospital Friday, July10, 2009. Joe Amon / The Denver Post (Photo By Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
This undated photo provided by the Cuyahoga County Medical Examinerâs Office shows fentanyl pills. Authorities say they've arrested Ryan Gaston, a man in a Cleveland suburb after seizing more than 900 fentanyl pills marked liked tablets of the less-potent opiate oxycodone. The Cuyahoga County medical examiner said that lookalike pills were likely to blame for some of the county's 19 fentanyl-related overdose deaths in January 2016. (Cuyahoga County Medical Examinerâs Office via AP)
A collection of different brand and dosages of the Fentanyl patch, clearly marked wit warnings about non-precribed uses, Wednesday, April 26,2006 in St. Louis. Abuse of the patch is on a steady upward swing leading to many deaths. Emergency rooms visits by people misusing the pain relieving opiate fentanyl shot up nearly 14-fold nationwide from 2000 to 2004 to 8,000, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' figures. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

More from AOL.com:
Study finds teen drug and alcohol use is down
Prolonged drug use may impact moral judgment
Philippines' president encourages people to kill drug dealers

Read Full Story

People are Reading