Common Misconceptions about Fentanyl

Fentanyl has become a buzzword in addiction treatment circles as of late, primarily because it has been a major factor in the surge of overdose deaths. Increasing awareness about and around Fentanyl is the first of many steps to combat the overdose deaths Fentanyl causes.

Fentanyl Myths

  1. You can’t get addicted to fentanyl

One of the more outrageous claims is that an individual will not become addicted to fentanyl. This myth is born from the idea that an individual would overdose before consuming enough fentanyl to become addicted. This could not be further from the truth. Fentanyl has one of the highest, if not the highest, potential for dependence on all prescription opioids. Luckily, individuals addicted to fentanyl respond as well to detox and subsequent addiction treatment as other opioid users in many cases.


  1. Fentanyl is only found in a small number of street drugs

Fentanyl can be produced fairly inexpensively when compared with other opioids. This is because fentanyl is synthetic and does not rely on the cultivation of the poppy plant. Combining this fact with the fact that it is extremely potent, results in fentanyl being one of the more popular additives in street drugs today. Fentanyl has been found in drugs like heroin, cocaine, MDMA, and methamphetamine. It is nearly impossible to detect fentanyl on your own, resulting in an extremely dangerous situation for nearly all illegal drug users.


  1. Fentanyl test strips are always reliable

Fentanyl test strips can confirm or deny the presence of fentanyl within 5 minutes on average. This is a great capability but it can lead to a false sense of security. There are variations of fentanyl that are not as easily detected with slight chemical variations. In addition to this, the conditions the fentanyl test strips are stored will impact their efficacy. Lastly, test strips are not legal in all 50 states and can be tough to obtain in states that consider them drug paraphernalia.


  1. Fentanyl is an additive only

While nearly all street drugs have the potential to be laced with fentanyl, that’s not the only way to get it. Some individuals seek fentanyl out intentionally. This is especially true in areas of the U.S. where actual heroin has become difficult to find, such as the Northeast. Fentanyl is a more powerful and easier-to-obtain substitute for many. Here at Harbor Wellness, we have seen a marked increase in the number of patients who report using fentanyl as a substance of choice over the past 2 years.


  1. There is a specific dosage that will induce an overdose

Fentanyl is an instant-release opioid that is estimated to be 50-100x more powerful than morphine. There are various estimates available as to what is a lethal dose. The fact is there are too many factors to accurately assess what will and will not be fatal on an individual level. Tolerance is another large factor in determining a lethal dose. Those who have ingested fentanyl regularly will likely tolerate larger doses but this is not always the case.


  1. Treatment is impossible

Treatment for fentanyl addiction is very challenging for a variety of reasons. Working with a reputable addiction treatment program is crucial. Fentanyl stays in an individual’s system for extended periods, meaning even days after their last use their body may not be able to tolerate drugs to manage withdrawal symptoms. That being said, there are protocols to help ease this transition and minimize discomfort along the way. Once the individual gets through the detox period of the addiction treatment, many of the protocols are similar to those used for patients addicted to other substances such as oxycodone or heroin.


Here at Harbor Wellness and Recovery Center, we offer various levels of care to treat fentanyl addiction, opioid addiction, heroin addiction, and other co-occurring conditions. For more information about our services please call us directly at 732-847-4555. We are available 24/7 to help. All calls are no obligation and are strictly confidential.