In today’s post, we are going to focus on fentanyl, which is a dangerous and highly addictive drug. Topics that we will address include: How long does fentanyl stay in your system? What are the effects of this drug? What are your options if you become addicted to fentanyl?
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is an extremely powerful synthetic opioid. Several experts have reported that fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine.
When used for legitimate medical purposes, fentanyl is typically prescribed to people who have been experiencing severe pain in the aftermath of surgery or breakthrough pain as a result of cancer. In such situations, the drug may be delivered via injection, transdermal patch, or lozenge.
Due to its potency and high risk of addiction, fentanyl is not usually prescribed unless the patient has already developed tolerance to morphine or another opioid-based painkiller.
In addition to its medical uses, fentanyl is also abused for recreational purposes. Illicit fentanyl often appears as a powder, liquid, or pill. Recreational fentanyl abuse can quickly lead to myriad devastating outcomes, including addiction, overdose, and death.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), overdoses involving fentanyl and other synthetic opioids were responsible for more than 70,000 deaths in 2021 alone. NIDA reports that from 2015-2021, the annual number of fentanyl-involved overdose deaths increased by 750%.
What Are the Effects of Fentanyl?
When fentanyl is in your system, it can elicit effects such as the following:
- Pain relief
- Elevated mood
- Relaxed euphoria
- Confusion and disorientation
When a person ingests fentanyl, the drug interacts with receptors in the same area of the central nervous system that are responsible for automatic functions such as heart rate and breathing. This is a prime reason why fentanyl overdose can quickly lead to death.
Compounding the overdose risk is the fact that people who engage in recreational drug use may ingest fentanyl without realizing it. Illicit drug manufacturers have been known to surreptitiously add fentanyl to heroin, methamphetamine, or cocaine to create a more powerful high.
How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your System?
How long does fentanyl stay in your system? The answer to this question can be influenced by a variety of factors, including the following:
- Your age, body weight, and metabolism
- How much fentanyl you have taken
- How long you have been abusing fentanyl
- What type of drug test you are taking
Fentanyl has a half-life of three to four hours. Half-life refers to the amount of time it takes for half of an existing amount of a substance to be eliminated from your system. Experts estimate that it typically takes four to five half-lives for a drug to be fully eliminated.
Using this standard, fentanyl may remain in your system for 12-20 hours. However, a drug screen may be able to detect your use of fentanyl for longer than that. Here’s a quick look at fentanyl detection timelines using a few of the most common types of drug tests:
- A blood test may detect fentanyl for up to two days (48 hours) after your last dose.
- Fentanyl may be detected in a urine test for up to three days (72 hours) after the last time you took the drug.
- Hair follicle tests can find evidence of fentanyl as long as three months (90 days) after you last ingested the substance.
How Is Fentanyl Addiction Treated?
If you are concerned about how long does fentanyl stay in your system, this could indicate that you are trying to stop using the drug. If you have become addicted to fentanyl, it can be extremely difficult to end your substance abuse without professional help. The good news is that fentanyl addiction is a treatable condition. When you find the type and level of care that matches your specific needs and goals, you can build a foundation for successful, long-term recovery.
Fentanyl addiction treatment often combines medication and therapy. Certain prescription medications can ease the cravings and other distressing symptoms that are characteristic of fentanyl withdrawal. Medication can also be beneficial if your struggles with fentanyl addiction are accompanied by certain mental health concerns.
Therapy can help you identify and address the issues that may have contributed to your fentanyl abuse problem in the first place. Therapy can also help you gain important information about addiction, develop vital relapse-prevention skills, and discover the many benefits of sharing support with other members of the recovery community.
Find Treatment for Fentanyl Addiction in Atlanta, GA
Peachtree Recovery Solutions offers customized outpatient care for adults in the Atlanta, Georgia, area who have become addicted to fentanyl and other opioids. Treatment options at our center include a partial hospitalization program (PHP), an intensive outpatient program (IOP), and traditional outpatient care. We also offer gender-specific services for men and women, as well as a vibrant aftercare program.
With the help of our skilled and compassionate professionals, you can put your fentanyl abuse behind you and start living a healthier and much more hopeful life. When you’re ready to get started, the Peachtree Recovery Solutions team is here for you. Please visit our admissions page or call us today to learn more.