Tree House Recovery NC

Fentanyl Addiction Treatment

Understanding and Getting Off One of the Most Potent Opioids

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is an extremely potent synthetic opioid that was developed to manage pain. It’s typically used to treat severe pain post-surgery as well as chronic pain. It is one of the most potent opioids and is 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine [1]. This prescription drug is highly addictive and can even be deadly. It is currently legal to produce in the U.S. for medical use. However, it is also produced and sold illegally as a recreational drug because of its heroin-like effects and strength. Because it is so much stronger than heroin, it has been a major cause of the increase in opioid overdose deaths in the U.S. There is a clear need for fentanyl addiction treatment in North Carolina and beyond. If you’re looking for substance abuse treatment, call Tree House Recovery at 910-812-1728 today.

Fentanyl Quiz:

If you suspect you or someone might be addicted to fentanyl, try our free quiz.

Fentanyl is a Schedule II narcotic [1].

This means it is currently considered to have an acceptable medical use, has a high abuse potential, and using it can lead to severe mental or physical dependence.

Narcotic Analgesic [2].

Where Does Fentanyl Come From?

Fentanyl was created by Dr. Paul Janssen in 1959 and patented by his company Janssen Pharmaceuticals [3]. As a potent narcotic analgesic (pain reliever), it has been widely used in medical settings to manage chronic and extreme pain post-surgery. In addition, it is often used to reduce pain for cancer patients. Unfortunately, it also creates euphoric and mood-elevating effects like other opioids and is often abused.

As one of the most addictive substances, fentanyl is widely sold illegally. So, where does all this street fentanyl come from? Most of today’s street fentanyl is illegally synthesized in labs throughout the world. However, legally produced fentanyl is also a common source [3].

Fentanyl Video

Tree House addiction counselor Rob Mo explains the signs and symptoms of fentanyl use, withdrawal symptoms, how it is used, and what to expect in fentanyl addiction treatment.

What Does Fentanyl Look Like?

In its raw powder form, it is shades of off-white to light brown. But, fentanyl is a hard drug to spot because it is typically cut into other street drugs to add to their potency. If it has been added to white drugs like meth or cocaine, you may see some brown spots.

Fentanyl has been increasingly added to counterfeit prescription benzo and opioid drugs like Xanax and oxycodone as well as street drugs like ecstasy to add to their euphoric effects. Again, this can be hard to spot, but you may find discoloration or flaws in the identifying marks on the drugs. The best way to know if a drug has been cut with fentanyl is to use a fentanyl test strip.

Picture of fentanyl compared to penny

Fentanyl Potency

Fentanyl is one of the most potent opioids. It is 50 times stronger than heroin [1] and up to 100 times stronger than morphine [2].

How Is Fentanyl Used?

If prescribed by a doctor, there are three ways fentanyl can be taken. It can be injected directly into the blood, absorbed into the skin through a patch, or absorbed orally in a lozenge form. Legally and illegally manufactured fentanyl are both abused. When used and abused for recreation, it is taken in several ways. The illegally made fentanyl is typically made as a powder, blotted on paper, put in eye droppers or nasal sprays, or pressed into pills [6].

However, It is primarily cut into other drugs like heroin, meth, or cocaine, and it can also be pressed into MDMA pills. Making fentanyl is cheap, and adding it to other drugs reduces their cost. Unfortunately, the added fentanyl increases the risk of overdose when people take drugs unknowingly mixed with fentanyl. Our fentanyl rehab center in North Carolina can make a difference for those who are ready to break free of fentanyl addiction and reduce the risk of an overdose.

Dangers of Fentanyl:

Fentanyl’s potency is a big reason it is so dangerous. It is at the top of the list of most potent opioids. It is 50 times stronger than heroin and up to 100 times stronger than morphine [1] [2]. Fentanyl abuse has a high overdose death rate because it is so addictive, potent and often cut into other drugs without people knowing.

Fentanyl Overdose Rates:

Currently, opioids—73% of which are synthetic—are the leading cause of overdose deaths in the United States. In 2019, overdose deaths increased by 4% compared to 2018—there were 70,630 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. Opioids were involved in 71% of 2019’s overdose death count in 2019, or 49,860 deaths [8].

For more information on Fentanyl and Heroin

Fentanyl vs Heroin Overdose:

fentanyl vs heroin overdose graph

Signs of Fentanyl Abuse

Physical Signs:

Like other opioids, some physical signs of fentanyl abuse are small “pinned” pupils and unexpected drowsiness. Opioid drowsiness, aka “nodding out,” is easy to spot. For example, you might find someone falling or nodding off mid-sentence. A drop in weight and opioid withdrawal symptoms and side effects are also signs of use [1].

Changes in Behavior

Opioids cause a high level of euphoria for most people who abuse them. So you might see random shifts of extreme happiness. Some other behaviors to look out for are a loss of energy, little appetite, mood swings, and memory problems [6]. If your loved one is exhibiting these behaviors and you suspect opioid abuse, it’s time to take action through a fentanyl addiction treatment center.

Side Effects of Fentanyl

You can also look for some of the side effects of fentanyl use if you think someone may be abusing the drug. These include:

  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Euphoria
  • Nausea
  • Pain relief
  • Sedation
  • Tolerance
  • Relaxation
  • Respiratory depression and arrest
  • Unconsciousness
  • Urinary retention

Common Names for Fentanyl

Like most commonly abused drugs, fentanyl goes by many different names on the street. Depending on where you are in the U.S., the nicknames may vary. Below is a list of some of the most common street names. If you hear someone using these names, it could be a sign that they are abusing fentanyl.

Fentanyl Street Names

  • Apace
  • China Girl
  • China Town
  • China White 
  • Dance Fever
  • Fetti
  • Goodfella
  • Great Bear
  • He-Man
  • Murder 8
  • Poison
  • Tango & Cash
  • TNT

Fentanyl Brand Names

  • Actiq® “lollipops” oral transmucosal lozenges
  • Sublimaze® Injection
  • Fentora™ effervescent buccal tablets 
  • Abstral® sublingual tablet 
  • Subsys™ sublingual spray 
  • Lazanda® nasal spray
  • Duragesic® transdermal fentanyl patch

Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms

One reason fentanyl is so addictive is that withdrawal symptoms start a few hours after it is taken. Withdrawal symptoms are painful for those who are dependent on this substance. These symptoms include [1] [6]:

  • Cold flashes 
  • Diarrhea
  • Intense cravings
  • Leg spasms
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Sleep problems
  • Vomiting

Our Fentanyl Addiction Treatment Program in North Carolina

There are three phases required to treat fentanyl addiction successfully. Phase one is medical detox. Phase two is an addiction treatment program. Finally, phase three is aftercare with an individualized maintenance plan.



Robert Funk: Addiction Writer



Derek Swain: Addiction Writer