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What is a Perc-O-Pop?

Michael Pollick
Updated: Jan 31, 2024

During the early 1960s, a powerful new form of opiate-based painkiller and intravenous anesthetic called fentanyl became generally available in the medical community. Fentanyl, also known by the trade names Duragesic® and Actiq®, was at least 80 times more potent than morphine, which limited its legal use to surgical anesthetic procedures and advanced pain management for cancer patients and others who could tolerate opiate-based painkillers. One form of fentanyl, Actiq®, was commonly administered as a oral lozenge or lollipop. This form of fentanyl is also known in the illegal drug world as a "perc-o-pop."

A perc-o-pop is no run-of-the-mill painkiller. Patients who are prescribed Actiq® lozenges or lollipops are generally in excruciating pain as a result of heart surgery or cancer treatments. Fentanyl is also administered through transdermal patches known by the trade name Duragesic® and is highly controlled by federal law. The street drug version of a perc-o-pop is quite often stolen from authorized pharmacies or directly from patients who depend on the lozenge or lollipop for pain management.

One reason a fentanyl perc-o-pop is such a popular street drug is the ease of administration. Users do not need elaborate drug kits filled with intravenous needles, glass pipes or butane torches. A perc-o-pop can simply be placed in the mouth and allowed to dissolve naturally. Fentanyl penetrates the blood/brain barrier exceptionally quickly, which means the effects can be felt within minutes of ingestion.

Perc-o-pops are also used as substitutes for heroin, which can be difficult to obtain on the street at times. The problem is that a perc-o-pop is much more potent than an average hit of heroin, which means overdoses from Fentanyl are a definite risk drug users face. Other forms of fentanyl, including the liquid contents of Duragesic® transdermal patches, can also be injected intravenously or held under the tongue much like a perc-o-pop.

Perc-o-pops also go by a number of other street drug names, such as Apache, China girl, China white, Dance fever, Friend, Goodfella, Jackpot, Murder 8, TNT, Tango and Cash and Lollipop.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to WiseGeek, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.
Discussion Comments
By anon94184 — On Jul 07, 2010

i don't know how long ago you posted that but if it's still relevant and you see this, i agree with anon19403.

I know you hate doctors but speak with your father's doctor, voice your concerns and suggest gradually lowering the dose with him/her, tell them that you want to minimize any withdrawal symptoms.

knowing how potent fentanyl is, i can't imagine the doctor prescribed it lightly and any doctor who would prescribe this sort of thing should be prepared to deal with the possibility of a resulting addiction.

Work with your doctor; you don't wan to be on your own with this stuff and this way the doctor can always be held accountable should anything bad happen.

also don't keep your dad in the dark. talk to him first and see what his reaction is. voice your concerns and explain the logic behind them. and of course, remind him that you love him and want what is best. best of luck hon. my heart goes out to you.

By anon78795 — On Apr 20, 2010

Anne123 does your father want help? That is the first step.

By anon19403 — On Oct 12, 2008

the best way to help would be to lower the dose gradually "weening off" controlled by the doctor should be fairly painless and successful and of course done properly as doctors orders.

By anne123 — On Oct 08, 2008

My 54 year old dad is taking these pain patches..can't believe a doctor would be OK with giving someone these..he is now addicted and acts like a heroin dope..I hate doctors, they should rename them drug dealers!..they are what they are..if anyone has any advice on how to help me get my dad into rehab..feel free to let me know

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to WiseGeek, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range...
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