Fentanyl is an extremely potent synthetic opioid painkiller analgesic which is 80-100 times more potent than morphine and 40-50 times more potent than pure heroin.  It works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and spine to penetrate the central nervous system and reduce the feeling of pain experienced by medical patients.  The following pharmaceutical brands contain the drug:

  • Durogesic
  • Duragesic
  • Actiq
  • Fentora
  • Matrifen
  • Haldid
  • Onsolis
  • Instanyl
  • Abstral
  • Lazanda


The drug was first synthesized in 1960 by Paul Janssen of Janssen Pharmaceutica on the heels of the discovery and subsequent marketing for Demerol.  It became introduced to the clinical field as a general anesthesia under the brand name Sublimaze.  After this infant period is when a litany of chemically similar analogues began flooding the market, all with the same basic effects.  In the mid 1990’s fentanyl began to be utilized for the treatment and management of pain with the unveiling of the Duragesic transdermal patch.  The transdermal patch systematically doses the user over a period of days instead of all at once.  Soon thereafter fentanyl use as a mainstream painkiller exploded in popularity with a number of various different gimmicks and products with different onset mechanisms.  Fentanyl is available as a skin patch, candy flavored lollipops, powder, dissolvable pills and intravenous injections.  It can even be smoked and snorted intranasally, as the latter is preferred method for use among child cancer patients.  Currently fentanyl is the most widely utilized synthetic opioid in clinical practices with new novel ways of being administered such as sublingual sprays designed for cancer patients.  


One of the most dangerous aspects of the drug fentanyl is it’s highly potent nature and precarious dosing.  Patients who have little tolerance for opiates are much more at risk when being exposed to fentanyl as the risk of overdose is unusually high.  The effects of fentanyl are much more pronounced than that of heroin and morphine for its strong agonist u-opioid receptors in the brain and ability to cross the blood brain barrier and adversely affect the central nervous system.  Users report a less euphoric high than heroin, but a more acute sedated feeling and depressed breathing.  The following are the most common adverse side-effects:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Somnolence
  • Delirium
  • Excessive Perspiration
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Hallucinations
  • Depression
  • Indigestion
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Apnea
  • Urinary Retention
  • Hypoventilation

Dangers of Recreational Use

Fentanyl carries with it a high risk for addiction and dependence as well as overdose.  The drug has seen exponential growth since its inception decades ago.  A new trend that is emerging in the drug black market is mixing fentanyl with other drugs, especially low-grade heroin.  The result has been an overwhelming increase in the number of accidental overdose deaths in the United States and Canada.  Estonia is another country that partakes in recreational abuse of fentanyl with a growing number of youth and young adults being lives being claimed in the process.  There are numerous pill mills that press the powder form into fake OxyContin pills and masquerading them as such.  The user typically overdoses from not knowing the drug they think they are taking is actually not that drug at all but pure fentanyl.  Fentanyl has been found in trace amounts in heroin, MDMA and cocaine.  

There is Help

You don’t have to let fentanyl overcome your life and snatch away your potential.  There are numerous resources dedicated to allow people a fighting chance at quitting the drug.  Addiction is not a battle that you can fight alone and there are people willing to fight on the frontlines right alongside you.  Your story doesn’t have to end here, get help today.



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