What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is an opioid medicine that is used for pain management prior to or following a medical surgery. It is one of the strongest opiates available on the market. Because it is not considered long-acting, it is typically used for recovery after surgery or for breakthrough pain, when other opioid medication stops working.

Side-Effects of Fentanyl

There are several side effects associated with fentanyl use. These may include:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Slowed breathing
  • Dilated pupils
  • Itchy skin
  • Weakness
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

Serious Side Effects of Fentanyl

There are also several more serious side effects of fentanyl that can occur when taking high dosages of the drug. The following symptoms can indicate a serious or life-threatening situation when taking large doses of fentanyl:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Extreme difficulty breathing
  • Confusion
  • Altered states of consciousness

Anyone experiencing any of these side effects should contact emergency help immediately.


Fentanyl holds serious potential to be abused and addictive. Fentanyl abuse is common because of its pain-relieving properties and tendency to induce feelings of euphoria. It is sometimes mixed with heroin or cocaine because it intensifies the effects of these drugs. The combination of fentanyl with these drugs is extremely dangerous and can lead to overdose.

Manipulating fentanyl is another risk associated with abusing this drug. Adding heat to a fentanyl patch for example, will release the effects more rapidly. This is highly dangerous however, because it ruins the slow release mechanism in fentanyl and can lead to overdose.

There are specific signs evident in people who abuse fentanyl. These can include:

  • Depression
  • Elevated confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty walking
  • Fainting
  • Shaking
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Itching/scratching
  • Hallucinations
  • Trouble breathing
  • Slowed/altered heart rate

Long-term fentanyl abuse can lead to serious consequences. Aside from the above symptoms, a person may become socially withdrawn, experience delusions, undergo personality changes, and have lack of motivation.

An addiction to fentanyl can also produce the following withdrawal symptoms if a person discontinues using it:

  • Chills
  • Confusion
  • Stomach pain
  • Shaking
  • Tremors
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritability

Overcoming an addiction to fentanyl typically requires profession treatment. Detoxing under the supervision of medical professionals at a treatment centre is recommended for individuals who want to end a fentanyl addiction.

Fentanyl FAQ

What are the street names used for fentanyl?

Fentanyl has become a common illicit drug. When sold illicitly, it often comes as a white powder. It is also sometimes mixed with heroin or simply sold as heroin. Common street names for fentanyl include:

  • Apache
  • Friend
  • China white
  • China girl
  • Goodfella
  • Tango and cash
  • Murder 8
  • Percopop
  • Drop dead
  • TNT

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