Fentanyl addiction is a serious condition that affects more Americans than one would think. Synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, are now the most common drugs involved in drug overdose deaths in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2017, 59.8 percent of opioid-related deaths involved fentanyl compared to 14.3 percent in 2010.
How long does fentanyl stay in your system? Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. It is a prescription drug that is also made and used illegally. Like morphine, it is a medicine that is typically used to treat patients with severe pain, especially after surgery.
It is also sometimes used to treat patients with chronic pain who are physically tolerant to other opioids. Tolerance occurs when you need a higher and/or more frequent amount of a drug to get the desired effects. In its prescription form, fentanyl is known by such names as Actiq®, Duragesic®, and Sublimaze®.
When prescribed by a doctor, fentanyl can be given as a shot, a patch that is put on a person’s skin, or as lozenges that are sucked like cough drops.
The illegally used fentanyl associated with recent overdoses is made in labs. This synthetic fentanyl is sold illegally as a powder, dropped onto blotter paper, put in eye droppers and nasal sprays, or made into pills that look like other prescription opioids.
Some drug dealers are mixing fentanyl with other drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and MDMA. This is because it takes very little to produce a high with fentanyl, making it a cheaper option. This is especially risky when people taking drugs don’t realize they might contain fentanyl as a cheap but dangerous additive. They might be taking stronger opioids than their bodies are used to and can be more likely to overdose.
How long does fentanyl stay in your system? How Does Fentanyl Work?
Fentanyl attaches to and activates certain opioid receptors, which are located in areas of the brain that affect pain and emotion. Through its interaction with these receptors, fentanyl also increases the release of dopamine from certain nerve cells in our brain’s reward center. This resulting increase in dopamine activity is associated with a reinforcing sense of euphoria. However, the drug can also slow breathing, which, given fentanyl’s potency, greatly increases the risk of overdose.
How long does fentanyl stay in your system? When Will Fentanyl Show Up on a Drug Test?
Drug testing is conducted for many different reasons.
- Some employers require drug testing before hiring or periodically throughout employment to monitor drug use.
- Drug testing may also be ordered in the case of legal situations that need to be investigated like a crime or car accident.
- Healthcare professionals may drug test to make sure a patient is taking the right dose of their medication.
How long does fentanyl stay in your system? While the effects of fentanyl may only be felt for a few hours, traces of the drug remain in the system for much longer and can show up on a drug test. Additionally, dose, duration of use, frequency of use, weight, urine concentration, and impaired kidney or liver functioning can all affect detection time.
Many drug tests are used to detect fentanyl, including urine, hair, and blood tests. A person can test positive for fentanyl on a urine test for 24–72 hours after last use. However, norfentanyl, a metabolite created in the process of breaking down the drug in the body, can be detected for up to 96 hours. Hair tests can detect fentanyl for up to 3 months after last use. Blood tests can detect fentanyl use from 5 hours to 48 hours after last use. Saliva tests are used to test for many drugs. In the case of fentanyl, however, saliva tests cannot consistently detect it or its metabolites
Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms
A person that is overdosing on fentanyl may exhibit the following signs and symptoms:
- Low blood pressure
- Nausea and vomiting
- Limp body
- Changes in pupillary size
- Cold and clammy skin
- Blue colored lips and fingernails (cyanosis)
- Slowed or stopped breathing
- Decreased heart rate
- Reduced or loss of consciousness
The presence of the “opioid overdose triad of symptoms,” which is comprised of pinpoint pupils, respiratory depression, and a decreased level of consciousness, are strongly suggestive fentanyl overdose symptoms.
To better educate first responders and bystanders on how to identify people who have fentanyl overdose symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a study to investigate the characteristics of a fentanyl overdose. During the study researchers interviewed more than 60 people with firsthand accounts of a fentanyl overdose; all of the respondents had illicitly used fentanyl during the past year and either witnessed an overdose or survived an overdose in the past six months.
One of the most commonly described characteristics of the fentanyl overdose symptoms was the rapid speed of onset, with 75% of the respondents describing symptoms of an overdose occurring within seconds to minutes. One respondent stated, “I would say you notice it [a fentanyl overdose] as soon as they are done [injecting the fentanyl]. They don’t even have time to pull the needle out [of their body] and they’re on the ground.” When asked to describe what happens during a fentanyl overdose, the most common responses were:
- A person’s lips immediately turn blue
- Gurgling sounds with breathing
- Stiffening of the body or seizure-like activity
- Foaming at the mouth
- Confusion or strange behavior before the person becomes unresponsive
Fentanyl Overdose Treatment
How long does fentanyl stay in your system? Please be aware of the fentanyl overdose symptoms. If you suspect someone is suffering from a fentanyl overdose you must act quickly. The most important step is to call 911 so that the person can receive immediate medical attention. Upon arrival, medical personnel will likely administer naloxone if they suspect fentanyl is involved. When administered immediately, this drug can reverse fentanyl overdose symptoms.
Once someone has recovered from an overdose, they must seek immediate help to address their issues with fentanyl dependency and abuse. The first step is to undergo medical detox in a professional rehab center, where the symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal can be properly monitored and treated. Like other opioid addictions, subsequent behavioral therapy and medication have proven to be an effective treatment approach for people with fentanyl addiction.
How Can You Safely Stop Taking Fentanyl?
How long does fentanyl stay in your system? Individuals who have developed a significant physical dependence on fentanyl are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to go off the drug. The severity of withdrawal symptoms will vary depending on the length and intensity of use.
Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms may first begin within 12 hours after their last use. Withdrawal symptoms can last for up to a week, with the first 3 days usually the most difficult.
Dealing with withdrawal symptoms for Fentanyl on your own can be extremely difficult and dangerous. Asking for help is an important step towards a healthier lifestyle, and We Level Up California is here to guide you through this journey.
Typical fentanyl withdrawal symptoms include:
- Feelings of depression
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble sleeping
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Muscle pain
Fentanyl Addiction Treatment & Medications
How long does fentanyl stay in your system? Substance abuse treatment approaches have evolved to better help those impacted by the increasingly widespread opioid epidemic, which includes the misuse and abuse of prescription painkillers as well as drugs like heroin and illicit fentanyl and its analogs. Common treatment methods used to help people recover from opioid addiction include several medications approved for opioid dependence and various behavioral therapies. Therapy and counseling combined with medication may increase the effectiveness of treatment.
- Buprenorphine (which can be administered alone or in combination with naloxone, as Suboxone) and methadone are also opioid receptor agonist drugs, meaning that, to differing extents, they activate the same receptor system that fentanyl acts on to reduce the intensity of cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Naltrexone, which is sometimes used post-detox, is what’s known as an opioid antagonist—it also binds to opioid receptors but, in doing so, prevents fentanyl from producing effects.
- Behavioral therapies help people adjust thinking patterns and behaviors around fentanyl use, develop better coping skills, and more adaptively react to any triggers that are encountered. Cognitive behavioral therapy is perhaps the most well-known of these therapies.
If you’re concerned about the dangers of fentanyl or struggling with any type of opioid abuse, get help today. A variety of programs are available across the country that offers flexible schedules, levels of intensity, and different payment options. Users who experience symptoms of withdrawal can undergo a medically supervised detox program and then after stability is achieved, move into an inpatient or residential program where therapy and long-term treatment can start.
How long does fentanyl stay in your system? Reclaim Your Life From Addiction
How long does fentanyl stay in your system? Fentanyl addiction is a condition that can cause major health problems such as an overdose. We Level Up California can provide you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from this with professional and safe treatment. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition and give you clarity about issues like Fentanyl overdose symptoms. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please know that each call is private and confidential.