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What Is Fentanyl? Identification, Street Names, & Addictive Qualities

Written by Theresa Valenzky

& Medically Reviewed by Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, PharmD

Medically Reviewed

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This article was reviewed by a medical professional to guarantee the delivery of accurate and up-to- date information. View our research policy.

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Last Updated - 07/14/2023

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Updated 07/14/2023

Fentanyl is a prescription pain drug with the potential for overdose and death. Fentanyl addiction treatment can help you overcome an addiction to this synthetic opioid.

Fentanyl has recently become a household name in America because of its role in the nation’s opioid crisis. It is a leading cause of drug overdose deaths, and overdoses due to synthetic opioids like fentanyl were responsible for 82% of opioid overdose deaths in 2020.

Florida has been hard hit by the surge in fentanyl overdose deaths during the opioid epidemic, with overdoses increasing by almost 64% from 2019 to 2020.

If you or a loved one struggles with fentanyl, it is important to be aware of the risks of fentanyl addiction and treatment options for how to overcome opioid use disorder.

What To Know About Fentanyl Addiction

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid prescription drug commercially available and widely used for severe pain or anesthesia.

However, fentanyl is also manufactured illegally and sold on the illicit drug market. When abused in this way, fentanyl’s deadliness lies in its ultra-high potency. Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine. Even tiny amounts are lethal. A few grains of fentanyl may be the difference between getting high and overdosing.

Like other opioids, fentanyl works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain. Doing so triggers abnormally high levels of the “feel-good” chemicals that form the brain’s reward system. These increased levels are responsible for the high that comes from using fentanyl. Over time, this can lead to addiction.

Illegally manufactured fentanyl comes as a white or off-white powder. However, people purchasing fentanyl on the street rarely see it in powder form. Instead, it is hidden in other drugs (such as marijuana) or cutting agents and sold as other drugs (especially heroin). It is also pressed into tablets and sold as counterfeit pharmaceuticals, such as Oxycontin.

Fentanyl Brand Names

Fentanyl brand names include:

  • Abstral (injection)
  • Actiq (lozenge)
  • Duragesic (skin patch)
  • Fentora (tablet)
  • Lazanda (nasal spray)
  • Sublimaze (injection)
  • Subsys (spray)

Fentanyl Street Names

Because of fentanyl’s prevalence in the illicit drug market, it has developed many nicknames. These include:

  • China White
  • China girl
  • Apache
  • Dance fever
  • Goodfella
  • Murder 8
  • TNT
  • Jackpot
  • Tango and Cash
  • Great Bear
  • He-man

Fentanyl Addiction Symptoms & Side Effects

When a person becomes addicted to fentanyl, they commonly start to show signs and symptoms of addiction. Loved ones may start to notice addiction signs, including:

  • Taking more fentanyl or over a longer time than intended
  • Ongoing plans or unsuccessful attempts to cut down or control fentanyl use
  • Spending a lot of time obtaining, using or recovering from fentanyl
  • Cravings or a strong desire to take fentanyl
  • Failure to meet major obligations at work, school or home due to fentanyl
  • Continued fentanyl use despite it causing social or interpersonal problems
  • Giving up or cutting back on other activities because of fentanyl.
  • Recurrent fentanyl use, even when it is physically dangerous
  • Continued fentanyl use even though you know doing so is causing you problems
  • Needing higher doses of fentanyl to achieve the same effects as before
  • Withdrawal symptoms when fentanyl is stopped

Fentanyl itself can also cause side effects in the person taking it, which include:

  • Relaxation
  • Sedation
  • Drowsiness
  • Euphoria
  • Pain relief
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Slow urination
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Slowed breathing, which can be fatal

Why Is Fentanyl So Dangerous?

Fentanyl is dangerous because of its high potency. It is the strongest available opioid and is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. This means that even tiny doses can be deadly.

The shocking thing about fentanyl addiction is many people who use fentanyl are not even aware of it. Dealers put fentanyl into any drug, including non-opioid drugs such as cannabis and cocaine. On the illicit market, fentanyl is used to increase profits and drug addictiveness. Dealers can use tiny amounts of fentanyl powder to make fake drugs or reduce the amount of a drug they put in their products. One study found that 73% of people who tested positive for fentanyl were unaware they had been using the drug.

Treatment for Fentanyl Addiction

When a person seeks help for fentanyl addiction, many treatment forms can help. Generally, fentanyl addiction treatment is done along with a continuum of care. This process starts with medical fentanyl detox and continues through rehab, addiction treatment programs and aftercare.

Fentanyl Detox

Detox is the first step in quitting fentanyl. Detox is recommended to take place in a medical detox facility instead of trying to stop fentanyl at home.

When a person tries to quit fentanyl on their own, they often go into withdrawal. This occurs when the brain gets used to fentanyl’s presence, and chemistry changes accordingly to adapt. Therefore, the brain’s chemistry is thrown off balance if the drug is suddenly stopped. This can cause withdrawal symptoms like:

  • Achy muscles
  • Insomnia
  • Watery eyes and nose
  • Sweating
  • Yawning
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Goosebumps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety

When someone attempts detox at home, these symptoms can be so unpleasant that a person may give up on quitting fentanyl, increasing the risk of relapse. In contrast, when a person undergoes detox in a medical detox facility, withdrawal symptoms can be treated as they occur. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with methadone or buprenorphine-based products may be used as medically appropriate to both ease withdrawal symptoms and reduce the risk of cravings and relapse over the long term.

Fentanyl Addiction Treatment Programs

Following medical detox, rehab helps you examine why you began using fentanyl in the first place. You can develop coping skills to resist fentanyl and develop healthier habits in therapy. Many rehab options exist, including:

  • Inpatient rehab: During inpatient rehab, you live at the rehab facility so you can fully focus your energy on healing and recovering from fentanyl.
  • Partial hospitalization program: Partial hospitalization is a step between highly structured inpatient and less structured outpatient rehab options. The program is up to 20 hours a week and seven days a week.
  • Intensive outpatient rehab: Intensive outpatient rehab bridges partial hospitalization and outpatient rehab. You live at home but attend intensive rehab sessions to learn how to transition back to outside life.
  • Outpatient rehab: In outpatient rehab, you live at home in a sober living environment and attend rehab sessions at the rehab facility. Teletherapy options may also be available.
  • Dual diagnosis: Substance abuse is commonly associated with mental health problems. In dual diagnosis, the substance abuse issue and the mental health component are treated simultaneously.


Maintaining attention and focusing on recovery after rehab is complete is still important. Aftercare helps with this. In aftercare, you participate in programs that keep your recovery at the forefront of your mind over the long term to support your continued success. Aftercare options include:

  • Continued medication-assisted treatment if medically appropriate
  • Continued therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Support groups like Narcotics Anonymous
  • Sober living environments

About Our Fentanyl Addiction Treatment Program in Florida

At The Recovery Village at Baptist Health, we offer a full continuum of fentanyl addiction treatment options to put you on the path to sobriety. Our treatment programs include:

We accept a variety of insurance plans, and you can verify your insurance plan on our website.

Our Facilities

The Recovery Village at Baptist Health offers two locations in Florida as you recover from fentanyl. These are our Miami and Palm Beach locations.

Our Palm Beach location houses our inpatient programs, including medical detox, inpatient rehab, and partial hospitalization. Our staff offers round-the-clock care. We have many amenities, including

  • Basketball courts
  • Frisbee golf
  • Horseshoe pits
  • Sand volleyball
  • Swimming pool
  • Gyms
  • Lounges
  • Gaming consoles

Our Miami location offers a continuum of outpatient rehab services, including intensive outpatient rehab and teletherapy. We also offer medication-assisted treatment as medically appropriate.

Get Fentanyl Addiction Treatment

At The Recovery Village at Baptist Health, we believe that long-lasting sobriety begins with a full continuum of care. That means our drug treatment programs are comprehensive and progressive, with each stage of treatment building on the others for a holistic and complete recovery approach.

Whether you are seeking rehab for drug addiction alone or in conjunction with a mental health disorder, The Recovery Village at Baptist Health can help. Contact us today for a confidential discussion with one of our representatives.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Synthetic Opioid Overdose Data.” June 6, 2022. Accessed September 11, 2022.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Fentanyl Facts.” February 23, 2022. Accessed September 11, 2022.

Ghelardini, Carla; Di Cesare Mannelli, Lorenzo; Bianchi, Enrica. “The pharmacological basis of opioids.” Clinical Cases in Mineral and Bone Metabolism, December 29, 2015. Accessed September 11, 2022.

Drug Enforcement Administration. “Drug Fact Sheet: Fentanyl.” April 2020. Accessed September 11, 2022.

PsychDB. “Opioid Use Disorder.” May 3, 2021. Accessed September 11, 2022.

American Society of Addiction Medicine. “National Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder.” December 18, 2019. Accessed September 11, 2022.