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Is Fentanyl An Opioid?

Dr. Alan Weiner MD

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Alan Weiner, MD

April 3, 2019

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 100 times more potent than morphine. Abusing fentanyl can put individuals at risk for overdose and death. Formal treatment is often needed to overcome an addiction to fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a powerful drug that is part of the synthetic opioid family. It is an estimated 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Fentanyl is only available through prescription and is only used in cases of severe or chronic pain.

When offered as a prescription, fentanyl is available as Duragesic, Actiq, and Sublimaze. It’s available in lozenges, patches, injections, and tablet form.

On the street, fentanyl goes by many names. These include Apache, China Girl, China White, Goodfellas, and Jackpot, to name just a few.

Synthetic opioids like fentanyl are one of the most common drugs to contribute to drug overdoses in the United States. In 2017, 59 percent of deaths related to opioids came as a result of fentanyl.

What Is A Synthetic Opioid?

The terms “opioid” and “opiate” are often used interchangeably because they are very similar molecules, and opioids act just like opiates in the brain. “Opioid” is increasingly used to indicate both opiates and opioids. Technically, opiates are drugs that are naturally derived from the poppy plant. Opiates include opium, morphine and codeine.

Opioids are synthetic and semi-synthetic chemicals, manufactured in a lab, that bind to the same receptors in the brain as opiates. Opioids include fentanyl, oxycodone and hydrocodone. Heroin is derived from morphine and can be classified as an opiate or an opioid.

Fentanyl Abuse And Addiction Treatment

Fentanyl abuse has become more and more common and can be seen in nearly every state across the nation. Because of its potency, fentanyl is an incredibly dangerous drug. Using even a small amount can result in overdose.

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In addition to being used on its own, fentanyl is also commonly combined with other drugs like heroin, methamphetamine, or cocaine. Mixing fentanyl with another substance can increase the danger of this drug.

If you or a loved one is addicted to fentanyl or other opioids, getting help is the best way to reclaim your life from addiction. Many people have found great success with formal treatment programs such as inpatient treatment.

An inpatient treatment program offers daily intensive treatment that focuses on overcoming addiction and living a life in sobriety. Different forms of therapy are often used to give patients a well-rounded approach to recovery.

To learn more about whether fentanyl is an opioid or to explore treatment options for fentanyl addiction, contact our treatment specialists today.

National Institute on Drug Abuse - What is fentanyl?

National Institute on Drug Abuse - Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids Drug Overdose Deaths

Center for Disease Control and Prevention - Fentanyl

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