How Fentanyl Is Used and Abused

Published on

Table of Contents

Fentanyl is an extremely powerful and widely available synthetic opioid that was created to treat severe and chronic pain in clinical settings. What makes fentanyl unique is its potency – it’s 50 times stronger than heroin, which has led to a significant increase in overdose deaths. Fentanyl has also had a significant impact on the ongoing opioid crisis in the United States because it is easy to obtain and can even be purchased online. Other drugs such as heroin and cocaine are also often cut with fentanyl, leading to many accidental overdoses. 

Fentanyl Addiction Statsistics

According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, fentanyl is a contributing factor in 53% of all overdose deaths nationwide, with over 42,700 fentanyl overdose deaths in 2020 alone. It is also the most lethal drug on the market, as taking less than  0.007% of an ounce of fentanyl can result in death. 

How Is Fentanyl Abused

Fentanyl is abused in a number of ways. Taking another person’s prescribed fentanyl in the form of patches, tablets, sprays, or lozenges is a common method of misuse. Fentanyl is sold illicitly in powder form and may be snorted, injected, smoked, or ingested. Any and all of these methods of use are potentially fatal and come with a number of unpleasant side effects. 

Snorting Fentanyl: Side Effects

Snorting fentanyl results in a high within a few minutes of use as it passes the blood-brain barrier. This method of use is also dangerous, as snorting any opioid, especially fentanyl can cause a person to stop breathing, leading to a coma or even sudden death. 

Injecting Fentanyl: Side Effects

Injecting fentanyl directly into the bloodstream results in the fastest-acting high compared to other methods of use. This rapid delivery can also increase the risk of overdose and lead to the transmission of diseases such as HIV and hepatitis.

Smoking Fentanyl: Side Effects

It is also much harder to control the precise dose of fentanyl when smoked compared to other methods of use, making it even more dangerous. Smoking fentanyl can also cause respiratory arrest, leading to a coma or sudden death.

Ingesting Fentanyl: Side Effects

Although it takes more time to feel the effects of fentanyl when ingested, it can also increase a person’s risk of overdose, because it is difficult to accurately gauge the effects of a dose. Ingesting fentanyl can lead to severe gastrointestinal distress, vomiting, and abdominal distension.

What is a Fentanyl Patch

Fentanyl patches are transdermal patches that are designed to treat chronic pain. These patches last for around 72 hours while the drug is absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream. These patches come in different doses and are only prescribed to patients who have already developed a tolerance to other kinds of opioid pain medications. These patches have a membrane that controls the rate of delivery of the drug, allowing for constant pain relief until the prescribed dose is used. 

When these patches are misused or abused, they can result in devastating consequences and side effects, including death, as people may use the entire dose of fentanyl in the patch at once. Fentanyl should be used with extreme caution no matter the circumstances, even if you have a prescription or experience with taking other opioid pain medication. The fact is that fentanyl is highly addictive and habit-forming and is only intended for short-term use.

Find Your Path to Recovery

At Quest 2 Recovery, our holistic treatment philosophy is focused on the unique needs of the individual. Our knowledgeable and professional team members offer incredible support and guidance to everyone who attends one of our programs and also help oversee the practical details involved with attending treatment to make your path to recovery as smooth as possible. With a trauma-based approach in a safe, family-like environment, we offer medical detox and tailored treatment plans to help people of all ages learn more about and resolve the underlying issues that cause substance abuse. If you or someone you love is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, contact us today.

Share Our Blog With Someone It Might Help!


Getting help doesn't have to be scary, we are here for you.

When you are ready to rid your body of the toxic substances, contact us. We can make it easier and safer for you.

We've moved to a new location! Our new address is 42939 45th St W, Quartz Hill, CA 93536