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Fentanyl Withdrawal Detox Drug and Alcohol Rehab Orange County California

Clinically Reviewed by: Charee Marquez, LMFT

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, presents significant risks due to its highly addictive nature. While the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) notes a decline in opioid use disorder, fentanyl and other synthetic opioids continue to pose a deadly threat. The risks of fentanyl use include tolerance, dependence, abuse, and addiction. As tolerance builds, the individual needs increasingly larger or more frequent doses to achieve the desired effects.

Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid analgesic (pain-relieving medication) that is used medically for the management of severe pain, often in situations such as surgery, cancer treatment, or chronic pain conditions. It is much stronger than other opioids, including morphine, and is estimated to be approximately 50 to 100 times more potent.

Key points about fentanyl include:

  1. Medical Uses: Fentanyl is prescribed by healthcare professionals in various forms, including patches, lozenges, and injections. The controlled and supervised medical use of fentanyl is effective for managing severe pain.

  2. Potency: Fentanyl’s high potency makes it effective in providing pain relief, but it also increases the risk of overdose and other adverse effects. This potency is a significant factor contributing to its potential for misuse and abuse.

  3. Illicit Use and Abuse: Illicitly manufactured fentanyl, often sold on the black market, has become a major concern due to its involvement in opioid-related overdoses. Illicit fentanyl may be mixed with other drugs, increasing the risk of accidental overdose.

  4. Risks and Side Effects: Like other opioids, fentanyl can cause side effects such as respiratory depression, sedation, nausea, constipation, and a sense of euphoria. The risk of these side effects and complications increases with higher doses and misuse.

  5. Forms of Illicit Fentanyl: Illicit fentanyl may be sold as a powder, mixed with other drugs (such as heroin or cocaine), or pressed into counterfeit prescription pills. Users may be unaware that they are consuming fentanyl, leading to a higher risk of overdose.

  6. Overdose Concerns: Fentanyl overdoses can be fatal due to its potency. Symptoms of an overdose may include respiratory distress, confusion, pinpoint pupils, and loss of consciousness. Immediate medical attention is crucial in the case of a suspected overdose.

  7. Naloxone (Narcan) Reversal: Naloxone is an opioid receptor antagonist that can reverse the effects of opioid overdose, including fentanyl. It is used as an emergency intervention to counteract the respiratory depression caused by opioid toxicity.

Street Names

Here are some street names for fentanyl:

  1. Apache
  2. China Girl
  3. China White
  4. Dance Fever
  5. Friend
  6. Goodfella
  7. Jackpot
  8. Murder 8
  9. Tango & Cash
  10. China Town
  11. Drop Dead
  12. He-Man
  13. Serial Killer
  14. Dance Fever
  15. China White
  16. Percopop


  1. Overdose Deaths:

    • Fentanyl has been a significant contributor to the opioid overdose crisis. It is much more potent than other opioids like heroin and morphine.
    • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a substantial increase in synthetic opioid-related overdose deaths, with fentanyl being a key driver.
  2. Illicitly Manufactured Fentanyl (IMF):

    • Illicitly manufactured fentanyl, often produced in clandestine labs, has become a major concern. It is frequently mixed with other drugs, such as heroin or cocaine, leading to a higher risk of overdose.
    • The presence of IMF in the illicit drug supply has led to a spike in overdose deaths.
  3. Role in Opioid Crisis:

    • Fentanyl’s increased availability and potency have contributed to the severity of the opioid crisis in various countries, including the United States and Canada.
  4. Law Enforcement Seizures:

    • Law enforcement agencies report significant seizures of illicitly manufactured fentanyl, underscoring its prevalence in the illegal drug market.
  5. Naloxone Administration:

    • Naloxone, an opioid antagonist that can reverse opioid overdoses, is increasingly used by emergency responders and community members to counteract the effects of fentanyl and prevent fatal overdoses.
  6. High Potency and Lethality:

    • Fentanyl is estimated to be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and can be several times more potent than heroin. This increased potency contributes to its high lethality.
  7. Distribution Channels:

    • Fentanyl may enter the illicit drug market through various channels, including online sales and international drug trafficking.

What is Fentanyl Addiction?

Fentanyl addiction refers to the physical and psychological dependence on fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid. Fentanyl is prescribed medically for severe pain management, but it is also associated with a high risk of abuse, dependence, and addiction. When used illicitly or inappropriately, fentanyl can lead to addiction due to its powerful effects on the central nervous system.

Key aspects of fentanyl addiction include:

  1. Physical Dependence: Prolonged use of fentanyl can lead to physical dependence, where the body adapts to the presence of the drug. This adaptation results in the development of tolerance, requiring higher doses to achieve the same effects, and withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not present.

  2. Psychological Dependence: Fentanyl addiction involves not only physical dependence but also psychological dependence. Individuals may feel a strong compulsion to continue using the drug to cope with stress, anxiety, or other emotional factors.

  3. Craving and Compulsive Use: Those addicted to fentanyl often experience intense cravings for the drug. The compulsion to use fentanyl can override other responsibilities, leading to compulsive drug-seeking behavior.

  4. Loss of Control: Individuals with fentanyl addiction may find it challenging to control their drug use despite negative consequences. This loss of control is a hallmark of addiction.

  5. Social and Occupational Impairment: Fentanyl addiction can have a significant impact on various aspects of an individual’s life, including relationships, work, and social activities. Responsibilities may be neglected as the focus shifts to obtaining and using the drug.

  6. Risk of Overdose: Fentanyl is highly potent, and individuals with addiction are at an increased risk of accidental overdose. Illicitly manufactured fentanyl, often mixed with other substances, further elevates the risk.

  7. Health Consequences: Long-term fentanyl use can lead to severe health consequences, including respiratory depression, cardiovascular issues, and an increased risk of infectious diseases if the drug is administered through injection.

  8. Withdrawal Symptoms: Discontinuing or reducing fentanyl use in individuals with addiction can lead to withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, and more.

Understanding Fentanyl Withdrawal

Any use of fentanyl raises the following risks:

  • Tolerance
  • Dependence
  • Fentanyl abuse
  • Fentanyl addiction

Like with other opiates, tolerance to fentanyl builds rapidly. This means you will need to take more fentanyl to achieve the same effects, or you will need to take the drug more frequently.

Once physical dependence sets in, you will experience withdrawal symptoms when the drug is no longer in your system. These symptoms typically start around 12 hours after the last dose, lasting for a week or so.

NIDA (the National Institute on Drug Abuse) defines addiction as a chronic and relapsing condition involving more than physical dependence. Despite clearly adverse outcomes, fentanyl addiction is characterized by compulsive drug-seeking and drug-taking behaviors. For someone with a fentanyl addiction – clinically described as opioid use disorder – obtaining and using the substance becomes the primary driver in life.

The appropriate treatment for fentanyl addiction depends on the scope and severity of the problem.

Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline

Withdrawal from fentanyl generally follows a timeline, with symptoms starting as early as 12 hours after the last dose and potentially lasting for a week or more. The intensity of withdrawal symptoms typically peaks around the third day and may include:

Day 1 of fentanyl detox

Fentanyl is a short-acting opioid like heroin and codeine. With a long-acting opioid like oxycodone extended-release tablets, withdrawal symptoms appear from 24 to 48 hours after the last dose. This means withdrawal symptoms usually present anywhere from 8 to 24 hours after the last dose.

During the first day of fentanyl withdrawal, you may experience any or all of the following:

  • Powerful cravings for fentanyl
  • Anger
  • Aggression
  • Irritability
  • Muscular aches
  • Muscular pains
  • Headaches
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Appetite loss

Day 2 of fentanyl detox

The second day of fentanyl detox sees a continuation of the above withdrawal symptoms, as well as the following adverse effects:

  • Insomnia
  • Excessive sweating
  • Runny nose
  • Upset stomach
  • Panic attacks

Day 3 of fentanyl detox

Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms will typically peak on the third day of detox. This applies to all short-acting opioids.

The most acute symptoms during this acute phase of opioid withdrawal include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

You can also expect the symptoms to persist during the third day of fentanyl detox.

Day 4 of fentanyl detox

As the most acute phase of fentanyl withdrawal is complete, the following symptoms may linger:

  • Fatigue
  • GI disturbance
  • Cramps
  • Shivering
  • Enlarged pupils

Day 7 of fentanyl detox

After a week of fentanyl detox, all withdrawal symptoms should start to subside. It may take longer for sleep patterns to normalize. It is also commonplace for fatigue to linger and spells of depression.

In the event of PAWS (post-acute withdrawal syndrome), symptoms can persist for several months after discontinuing the use of fentanyl. The most common effects of PAWS are as follows:

  • Depressed mood
  • Strong cravings for opioids
  • Fatigue
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Irritability

How Long Does Fentanyl Withdrawal Last?

The process of fentanyl detoxification usually spans a duration of 5 to 7 days; however, it’s important to note that withdrawal experiences may vary, with some individuals undergoing detox in either shorter or longer periods. Given the inherent uniqueness of each detoxification journey, it becomes crucial to undergo a comprehensive evaluation to accurately assess and determine the specific duration required for your fentanyl detox. This individualized approach ensures that the detox process is tailored to meet your specific needs and circumstances, ultimately enhancing the effectiveness of the detoxification experience.

Withdrawal Symptoms of Fentanyl

  • Opioid Tolerance and Desensitization:

    • Long-term use of opioids, even when prescribed and taken as directed, leads to rapid desensitization of the body to the pain-relieving and rewarding effects of opioids.
    • Tolerance develops, necessitating an increase in either the dosage or frequency of fentanyl doses to achieve the same desired effects.
  • Altered Brain Chemistry and Dependency:

    • Prolonged opioid abuse induces changes in the functioning of nerve receptors in the brain.
    • The nerve receptors become dependent on opioids, resulting in an altered brain chemistry that manifests withdrawal symptoms when opioids are not present.
  • Common Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms:

    • Withdrawal symptoms associated with opioids, ranging from prescription painkillers to heroin and fentanyl, share commonalities.
    • These symptoms include:
      • Vomiting
      • Nausea
      • Diarrhea
      • Elevated blood pressure
      • Anxiety
      • Insomnia
      • Raised body temperature
      • Chills
      • Sweating
      • Racing heart
      • Muscle pain
      • Bone pain
      • Hallucinations
  • Psychotic Symptoms in Fentanyl Withdrawal:

    • While opioids and opiates are not typically linked to full-blown psychosis, fentanyl withdrawal may lead to hallucinations, delusions, or other psychotic symptoms in some individuals.
  • Medical Assistance and Supervised Detox:

    • To mitigate the risk of psychotic symptoms and alleviate other unpleasant side effects during fentanyl withdrawal, it is advisable to seek medical assistance.
    • Consider opting for a medically supervised detox, ensuring a comprehensive and supportive approach to managing the challenges associated with fentanyl withdrawal. This approach enhances safety and provides tailored care to address individual needs during the detoxification process.

Fentanyl Detox

  • Comprehensive Fentanyl Detoxification Process:

    • Fentanyl detox is a meticulous procedure aimed at safely eliminating toxic substances and their metabolites from the individual’s system.
    • The process is designed to ensure the thorough removal of fentanyl-related toxins, facilitating a more effective and complete detoxification experience.
  • Professional Setting for Fentanyl Withdrawal Detox:

    • Fentanyl withdrawal detox is typically conducted in a licensed medical detox center or a specialized substance abuse treatment center.
    • The choice of a professional setting ensures that the detox process is managed by trained healthcare professionals who possess expertise in addressing the specific challenges associated with fentanyl withdrawal.
  • Versatility of Detox Settings:

    • Detoxification can occur in various settings, either independently or as a precursor to residential rehabilitation programs.
    • Standalone detox programs focus exclusively on the detoxification phase, while integrated approaches may seamlessly transition individuals from detox to residential rehab for a more holistic treatment experience.
  • 24/7 Medical Care and Mental Health Support:

    • Detoxification in reputable centers is accompanied by around-the-clock medical care and mental health support.
    • This continuous care framework ensures that any complications arising from fentanyl withdrawal are closely monitored and promptly addressed, enhancing the safety and well-being of individuals undergoing detox.
  • Role of Medications in Fentanyl Detox:

    • Medications play a crucial role in alleviating the intensity of opioid withdrawal symptoms, and this holds true for fentanyl detox as well.
    • Specialized medications are employed to mitigate withdrawal symptoms, and some are specifically targeted at reducing cravings for fentanyl, enhancing the overall effectiveness of the detoxification process.
  • Tailored Approach to Individual Needs:

    • The use of medications in fentanyl detox is often personalized to cater to the unique needs and responses of each individual.
    • This tailored approach ensures that the detox process is not only effective in managing symptoms but is also considerate of the specific challenges and requirements of each person undergoing fentanyl detoxification.

How Long Does Fentanyl Stay In Your System?

The duration that fentanyl remains detectable in an individual’s system can vary based on several factors. Generally, fentanyl has a relatively short half-life, which is the time it takes for half of the drug to be eliminated from the body. The half-life of fentanyl is approximately 2 to 4 hours.

However, the presence of fentanyl and its metabolites can be detected in various biological samples, such as urine, blood, saliva, and hair, for different periods:

  1. Urine: Fentanyl can typically be detected in urine for up to 1-3 days after use. However, individual variations, frequency of use, and other factors can influence this timeframe.

  2. Blood: Fentanyl is usually detectable in blood for a shorter duration, typically up to 12 hours after use.

  3. Saliva: Saliva testing may detect fentanyl for a similar timeframe as blood, up to around 12 hours.

  4. Hair: Fentanyl and its metabolites can be present in hair for an extended period. Hair tests may show drug use for up to 90 days or even longer, depending on the length of the hair sample.

It’s important to note that these timeframes are approximate, and individual variations can influence the detection window. Factors such as metabolism, hydration, and the presence of other substances in the body can impact how long fentanyl is detectable. Additionally, drug tests are more likely to detect fentanyl shortly after use, and as time passes, the concentration of the drug in the body decreases.

How Is Fentanyl Used?

Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid analgesic that is used medically for pain management, especially in situations where other opioids may not be effective. It is important to note that the use of fentanyl should be strictly controlled and administered by healthcare professionals due to its high potency and potential for misuse. Here are common ways in which fentanyl is used:

  1. Transdermal Patches: One of the most common medical uses of fentanyl is through transdermal patches. These patches are applied to the skin and deliver a controlled amount of the drug over an extended period. This method is often used for chronic pain management in patients who require continuous opioid analgesia.

  2. Intravenous Injection: In medical settings, fentanyl may be administered intravenously, particularly in surgical procedures or in a hospital setting where precise control of pain is necessary. Intravenous administration allows for a rapid onset of pain relief.

  3. Intramuscular Injection: Fentanyl can also be administered via intramuscular injection, which involves injecting the drug into the muscle. This method is used in certain medical situations where intravenous administration is not feasible.

  4. Oral Lozenges: Fentanyl is available in the form of oral lozenges or lollipops for breakthrough pain in cancer patients or for those who are opioid-tolerant. These formulations provide a rapid onset of pain relief when placed in the mouth.

  5. Nasal Spray: Fentanyl can be formulated as a nasal spray, providing a non-invasive route for pain relief. This method may be used in specific medical situations, especially for patients unable to take medications orally.

It is crucial to emphasize that fentanyl is a potent opioid with a high risk of overdose, and its use should be strictly supervised by healthcare professionals. Illicitly manufactured fentanyl, which may be encountered on the black market, poses a significant risk due to its potency and the potential for unintentional overdose. Misuse of fentanyl, especially when obtained without a prescription, can have serious and life-threatening consequences.

Fentanyl Treatment Options

The treatment for fentanyl addiction typically involves a comprehensive and individualized approach that addresses the physical, psychological, and behavioral aspects of addiction. It is important for individuals seeking treatment to consult with healthcare professionals to determine the most appropriate plan for their specific needs. Here are common components of treatment for fentanyl addiction:

  1. Medical Detoxification: The first step in treating fentanyl addiction is often medical detoxification. This process involves the supervised withdrawal from fentanyl in a medical setting. Healthcare professionals may use medications to manage withdrawal symptoms and ensure a safe and comfortable detoxification.

  2. Inpatient or Residential Rehabilitation: For individuals with severe fentanyl addiction, inpatient or residential rehabilitation programs provide a structured environment where individuals can receive intensive therapy, counseling, and support. These programs often last for several weeks and focus on addressing the underlying issues contributing to addiction.

  3. Outpatient Treatment: Outpatient programs are suitable for individuals with a milder form of addiction or those who have completed inpatient treatment. Outpatient treatment allows individuals to receive therapy and support while living at home. It is a more flexible option but may require strong commitment and support from the individual.

  4. Behavioral Therapies: Various behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management, are commonly employed to help individuals modify destructive behaviors, identify triggers for drug use, and develop coping mechanisms.

  5. Individual and Group Counseling: Both individual and group counseling play essential roles in addiction treatment. Individual counseling allows for personalized attention to specific issues, while group counseling provides a supportive environment where individuals can share experiences and learn from others.

  6. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): Medications may be used as part of the treatment plan to help reduce cravings and prevent relapse. Buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone are examples of medications that may be used in the treatment of opioid addiction.

  7. Supportive Services: Additional supportive services, such as vocational training, education, and family therapy, may be incorporated into the treatment plan to address broader aspects of an individual’s life and promote long-term recovery.

  8. Aftercare and Relapse Prevention: After completing the initial treatment program, individuals often benefit from aftercare services, including ongoing counseling, support groups, and relapse prevention strategies. Continued support is crucial for maintaining recovery in the long term.

It’s important to note that the most effective treatment plans are tailored to the individual’s unique needs and circumstances. Seeking help from healthcare professionals and addiction specialists can guide individuals toward the most appropriate and effective treatment options for fentanyl addiction.

Seeking Help? Call California Prime Recovery Today!

Attempting to detox from fentanyl without professional help can lead to unnecessary discomfort and potential complications, including psychotic symptoms. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction contact our California Prime Recovery today at 866-208-2390.


Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but can be up to 100 times more potent. It is highly addictive due to its potent effects on the brain’s reward system, leading to a high risk of dependency and addiction even after short-term use.

Withdrawal symptoms can begin anywhere from 8 to 36 hours after the last dose of fentanyl, depending on various factors such as the dosage and frequency of use.

While fentanyl withdrawal can be extremely uncomfortable, it is generally not life-threatening. However, complications can arise, which is why medical supervision is strongly recommended during detox.

Treatments for fentanyl addiction may include medications to manage withdrawal symptoms, behavioral therapies, counseling, and participation in outpatient or inpatient treatment programs.

Many insurance plans cover addiction treatment, including fentanyl detox and rehabilitation. However, coverage can vary based on your specific plan, the treatment facility, and the level of care required.

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