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What Are The Different Forms of Fentanyl?

Dr. Alan Weiner MD

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Alan Weiner, MD

April 3, 2019

Fentanyl, an incredibly strong opioid, comes in many different forms. Each form can be dangerous when abused. Treatment for fentanyl addiction can help prevent overdose and other severe consequences.

Fentanyl is an incredibly dangerous opioid that has become increasingly popular in recent years. It is one of the strongest synthetic opiates and is highly regulated. It is illegal to use without a prescription; however, fentanyl is a commonly abused opiate and is often sold on the street.

Fentanyl is anywhere from 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. It is typically only used to treat chronic pain that is unreceptive to other pain medications. Fentanyl is incredibly addictive and can quickly lead to dependence.

Fentanyl is offered in prescription form as Actiq, Sublimaze, and Duragesic. When sold on the street, fentanyl may be referred to as China White, China Girl, Goodfellas, Apache, or Friend.

Types Of Fentanyl

Fentanyl is available in a number of different forms. In a medical setting, fentanyl may be offered as a:

  • lozenge
  • oral tablet
  • oral spray
  • patch
  • intravenous liquid

When used medically, fentanyl lozenges can be sucked on so the drug is absorbed through the mucous membranes. The oral spray form works similarly to the lozenges, as does the tablets.

A fentanyl patch is put on the skin and the medication is absorbed through the skin. An intravenous liquid is injected into the veins and absorbed by the bloodstream.

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Each of these medical forms of fentanyl can be used illegally. The fentanyl patch is especially popular among fentanyl users, as it has a high amount of the drug in it. People can extract fentanyl from the patch and ingest it in other ways, such as injecting or snorting it.

Forms of illegal fentanyl include:

  • blotting paper
  • powder
  • manufactured tablets
  • lollipops

On the street, fentanyl can be manufactured illegally. It is also sometimes mixed with heroin or cocaine to reduce the cost of production of the two drugs. Additionally, illegal drug manufacturers may use fentanyl to mimic other opioids.

People can also obtain the medical forms of fentanyl and distribute them illegally on the street. For example, a lozenge is known as a fentanyl lollipop on the street, as they are often sold on the end of a stick.

Getting Help For Fentanyl Abuse And Addiction

Using fentanyl in any way other than what is prescribed can be dangerous and even deadly. Because of how potent fentanyl is, many people overdose on this drug without meaning to. Getting help for fentanyl abuse or addiction can prevent this and other consequences.

Most people who are addicted to fentanyl will need to undergo formal treatment to successfully recover. This may include a stay at an inpatient treatment program. Inpatient programs often offer personalized treatment plans that cater to a person’s unique needs for recovery.

To learn more about the different forms of fentanyl and treatment options for fentanyl addiction, contact us today.

EMS1 - 8 deadly forms of fentanyl

National Institute on Drug Abuse - What is fentanyl?

ADF - Fentanyl

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