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β-hydroxythiofentanyl was sold briefly on the black market in the early 1980s, before the introduction of the Federal Analog Act which for the first time attempted to control entire families of drugs based on their structural similarity rather than scheduling each drug individually as they appeared.  β-hydroxythiofentanyl was anecdotally said to be one of the more favored fentanyl analogues by opiate addicts, but nevertheless its brief career as a street drug did not survive the introduction of the Analogues Act.
β-hydroxythiofentanyl has similar effects to fentanyl. Side effects of fentanyl analogues are similar to those of fentanyl itself, which include itching, nausea, and respiratory depression, which can be serious and even life-threatening.
- Henderson GL. Designer Drugs: Past History and Future Prospects. Journal of Forensic Sciences 1988; 33(2):569-575