Addiction Treatment

Fentanyl Effects

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Last updated: 05/6/2019
Author: Medical Review

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Fentanyl, a prescription opiate drug, appears under the brand names Duragesic, Actiq, and Sublimaze. This drug closely resembles morphine in chemical makeup but has a potency level that’s 50 to 100 times more powerful than that of morphine.

How Fentanyl Works

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, fentanyl binds to the body’s own opiate cell receptor sites, located throughout the brain and central nervous system. These interactions cause cell sites to secrete large amounts of dopamine neurotransmitter chemicals. The body’s opiate sites play a pivotal role in regulating pain sensations and also emotions.


Considering fentanyl’s overall potency level, someone addicted to fentanyl and heroin will, at the very least, require some form of heroin addiction treatment in order to overcome the drugs’ hold on the body.

Potential for Addiction

Fentanyl, like other opiates, carries a very strong potential to cause addiction in those who regularly take the drug or use it in any manner other than it is prescribed. The short-acting analgesic effects of Fentanyl can create considerable drug seeking behaviors in those who quickly become bound by the desire to feel the euphoric effects of the drug once again soon after it begins to wear off. This creates a very strong risk of dependence as a vicious cycle of using, coming down, using, coming down and intermittent symptoms of withdrawal take over.


Repeat use of fentanyl, using it in a manner other than prescribed, or mixing it with other drugs can quickly lead to deadly overdose. The depressing effects of the drug will slow heartrate, reduce breathing to a minimum and could quickly result in the shutting down of one or more of the body’s vital systems.

Overdose should be immediately treated by a healthcare professional. If you suspect that someone has overdosed on fentanyl, call 911 immediately for medical help.

Getting Help

The dangerous effects of Fentanyl should not be overlooked—but they often are. Left untreated, fentanyl abuse can quickly lead to an addiction. Addiction often leads to overdose or untimely death. Don’t delay and take another day to risk an untimely death—call our helpline toll-free for support assistance and to find a program that’s right for you.

How Our Helpline Works

For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the helpline is a private and convenient solution.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by American Addiction Centers (AAC).

We are standing by 24/7 to discuss your treatment options. Our representatives work solely for AAC and will discuss whether an AAC facility may be an option for you. Our helpline is offered at no cost to you and with no obligation to enter into treatment. Neither nor AAC receives any commission or other fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a visitor may ultimately choose.

For more information on AAC’s commitment to ethical marketing and treatment practices, or to learn more about how to select a treatment provider, visit our About AAC page. If you wish to explore additional treatment options or connect with a specific rehab center, you can browse top-rated listings or visit SAMHSA.

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