Since 2017, the anesthetic drug fentanyl has been a key component in increasing deaths from people who use opioids. When fentanyl is mixed into opioids, it creates an often-fatal respiratory failure called “wooden chest syndrome.” CODA’s Associate Director of Research, Anesthesiologist and Addictionologist Dr. Randy Torralva, recently was awarded funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse for his project, “Drug Discovery for Fentanyl-Induced Respiratory Effects Syndrome” to create a medication to counteract fentanyl’s fatal effects. Dr. Torralva has been working with Dr. Aaron Janowsky at the Portland VA, including on recent publications explicating the mechanisms of fentanyl that lead to wooden chest syndrome. Their paper “Fentanyl but not Morphine Interacts with Non-Opioid Recombinant Human Neurotransmitter Receptors and Transporters,” was recently published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Dr. Torralva’s NIDA project will provide him with a NIDA-driven drug development team to advise and assist him in developing of a drug to counteract fentanyl and ideally, prevent thousands of deaths. “I’m not stopping until this is in everyone’s medicine cabinet”, he says.