Fentanyl is the most potent prescription pain reliever, making it an extremely dangerous substance. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently disclosed in April 2022 that among the 105,000 deaths caused by drug overdoses in the past year, 66% were caused by synthetic opioids, with fentanyl as the driving force.1
While there has been a massive enlightenment campaign against the widespread availability and use of the drug, the difficulty in identifying fentanyl is a significant setback. Fentanyl looks similar to many other drugs, so many are unaware when fentanyl is in other substances. So, there is no better time to get answers to the question, what does fentanyl look like? This article will discuss the defining characteristics of fentanyl to be wary of in order to effectively keep you and your loved ones safe.
Fentanyl is a human-made opioid, a class of drugs that relieve pain and create pleasurable feelings. Fentanyl is far more potent than morphine and heroin and is a popular addition to other drugs. Pharmaceutical companies produce fentanyl as a medically prescribed drug; however, the drug’s most available and notorious forms are the illicitly manufactured ones.
Prescription fentanyl is available under brand names such as Duragesic, Sublimaze, and Actiq. Fentanyl street names include China Girl, Apache, Poison, Great Bear, and Goodfellas.
Like other opioids, fentanyl works to ease feelings of pain. Doctors will prescribe fentanyl to relieve severe pain from a serious injury, cancer, nerve damage, and during or after a surgical operation.
People often use fentanyl for nonmedical purposes, as the pleasurable feeling it produces in a short time becomes irresistible.
Fentanyl surpasses heroin and morphine in potency; therefore, the body only needs a small amount to produce the same effect as heroin and morphine. For this reason, heroin and morphine are usually laced with fentanyl to boost their potency and sold to unsuspecting buyers.
Herein lies the danger. It is difficult to tell fentanyl apart from other substances, such as morphine or heroin, because of its looks. When drugs are secretly laced with fentanyl, unwary people get exposed to several unplanned consequences, including death. Deaths caused by fentanyl have been on the rise for over a decade. In 2010, 14.3% of overdose deaths were caused by fentanyl, which quickly rose to 59% in 2017.2
Despite the high level of availability of fentanyl, many individuals still find it challenging to identify the drug. So what does fentanyl look like?
Fentanyl, in its illicitly manufactured version, is commonly found in a powder or liquid form. Its powdered form looks like other popular complex substances like cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. As a liquid, fentanyl is used with eye drops, nasal sprays, and other substances that go into the body.
Fentanyl is one hundred times more powerful than morphine and fifty times more potent than heroin. In most cases, the fatal dose of morphine is 200 mg, while the fatal dose of fentanyl is only 2 mg. According to the DEA, 42% of counterfeit pills tested for 2 mg of fentanyl.3
In addition, this means it takes one portion of fentanyl to produce the same effect as fifty portions of heroin and a hundred portions of morphine. Also, fentanyl takes significantly less time to impact the body than other drugs.
A fentanyl high doesn’t last long, even though the drug can be detected after ninety-six hours after use. A fentanyl high lasts only a few hours, depending on how it was taken.
Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to identify fentanyl by taste. Herein lies another reason why fentanyl is more dangerous than many other drugs. Dealers are confident in lacing other drugs with fentanyl due to its lack of distinctive taste.
Unfortunately, due to the inability to taste fentanyl, people cannot tell when drugs are laced with this dangerous drug. As a result, overdoses are a common occurrence. According to the CDC, one hundred fifty opioid-related drug overdoses happen on a daily basis.4
It is pretty easy to overdose on fentanyl. The fentanyl high is quite powerful, providing a euphoric feeling that leaves people wanting more. Unfortunately, overdose can also be deadly, as it takes just a little of the drug to threaten one’s life.
In addition, body mass, weight, and overall health play a role in the various levels of susceptibility to a fentanyl overdose. So, if you or anyone you know has overdosed on fentanyl, here is what you should do to help.
First, you must spot an overdose in time. Knowing about the signs of fentanyl overdose will help. Fentanyl overdose signs include:
A fentanyl overdose can result in coma and permanent brain damage.
Many individuals with opioid use disorders have found help in rehab centers. At Iris Healing, we provide thorough and holistic care for fentanyl addiction. Our professional and compassionate staff help people with substance use disorder find lasting healing from fentanyl abuse, overdose, and addiction.