Recently, the rates of fentanyl abuse escalated. It became a powerful prescription opioid for treating severe pain. Because of this, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) issued that fentanyl addiction as a nationwide alert. It became a threat to public physical and mental health. But how long does fentanyl stay in your system?
Moreover, its effects are very alarming. It increases overdose and deaths. Why? Because some divert the medical purpose of fentanyl for illicit use.
As a result, there is an increase in demand for this substance. People opt to buy in street supply even though it is from illegal manufacture. What matters is to get the daily dose they need.
We can do something to stop this addiction. But before we dive deeper, let us understand what fentanyl is.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid drug. Doctors prescribe it to treat severe pain. Patients with advanced cancer pain and chronic pain tolerant to other less potent opioids receive this prescription. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. It is known as an anesthetic adjuvant. Doctors use it to prevent stinging after surgery or other medical procedure.
Fentanyl works by binding the opioid receptors to intercept the pain signals in the brain.
In the United States, pharmaceutical fentanyl comes in several forms. It includes a transdermal patch, lozenge, nasal spray, tablet, and injectable solution.
On the other hand, illicit fentanyl has different forms. It can be as a tablet, spiked on blotter paper, or mixed with other drugs. Also, people may swallow, snort, or inject it. The way you take, it affects how long fentanyl stays in your system.
Often, people use heroin with fentanyl to get high. When these two combine, it becomes a deadly combination. Studies have shown that heroin laced with fentanyl is related to the rapid increase in drug-overdose associated deaths.
Synthetic fentanyl is manufactured and sold in pills, tablets, and powder. It also comes in the following street names.
- China Town
- Great Bear
- Dance fever
- King Ivory
- Murder 8
Fentanyl and Heroin Combination
- China White
The street name is a berry-flavored lozenge containing fentanyl on a stick. Although it is supposed to give relief to cancer patients, it also sold illegally on the streets.
Side Effects of Fentanyl
Despite several medical applications, fentanyl comes with a black box warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Black box warning is the most severe injunction. That is why medical professionals formulate the dosage carefully.
The side effects of fentanyl lead to severe consequences. Thus, requiring immediate medical attention. However, both fentanyl abuse and medically prescribed result in different side effects.
Medically administered leads to short-term and mostly physical side effects. At the same time, fentanyl abuse leads to long-term physical and mental effects.
Fentanyl Side Effects
These effects may or may not require medical attention. It usually subsides in a couple of data. But, if the symptoms persist, consult the doctor immediately.
Nausea and vomiting are the most common effects. The following may occur as well.
- Anxiety, Confusion
- Black stools
- Blurry vision
- Chest pounding sensation
- Constipation, sometimes diarrhea
- Sore throat
- Dry mouth
- Dizziness and headache
- Increased thirst and sweating
- Irregular heartbeat
- Suppressed appetite
- Low RBC count
- Lower back pain
- Mood swings
- Muscle cramps
- Painful or difficult urination
- Pale complexion
- Pounding in the ears
- labored breathing
- Sunken eyes
- Ulcers or white spots in the mouth
- Wrinkling of the skin
Rare Adverse Effects
When the following is observed, seek medical treatment.
- Slow heartbeat
- Fast pulsation
- Struggle in balance
- Decreased responsiveness
- Less frequent urination
- Muscle jerking
- Severe constipation
- Thinking abnormalities
- Tingling sensations
- Limbs shaking
Hints Showing Fentanyl Abuse
Fentanyl is a potent drug. It produces an intense sense of euphoria, which makes it popular among drug addicts. However, synthetic opioids are highly dangerous when used for recreational purposes. One can quickly develop tolerance to high fentanyl doses. Aside from the adverse effects listed above, deadly substance abuse can cause coma and death.
If you’re suspecting a loved one taking fentanyl outside prescription, observe the following symptoms.
- Slow or irregular breathing
- Shallow heartbeat
- No response to pain
- Skin tone change
- Drowsiness and lethargy
- Slurred speech
- Inability to concentrate
The worst manifestation occurs if fentanyl gets mixed with other illegal drugs in the streets. Overdosage can cause severe respiratory disorders and death.
Now, you know what to observe when someone is taking fentanyl unprescribed. If it is evident, get help immediately. Also, learn how long does fentanyl stay in your system.
How long does Fentanyl stay in your system?
It is essential to consider the elimination half-life when determining how long fentanyl stays in your body. Elimination half-life is the time it takes for half a single dose to leave the body.
Intravenous drug use has an elimination half-life of up to 4 hours in adults. It takes about 11 to 12 hours to get cleared from your body.
Meanwhile, patch and lozenge exhibit a half-life of 7 to 17 hours. It will take about 36 hours for this substance to altogether leave the system.
When Fentanyl breaks down after it gets absorbed, it leaves behind traces called metabolites. The longer it stays in your system, the higher chance a drug test could find fentanyl in your body, even if it is several days after you stop taking it.
Fentanyl in your Urine
The advanced urine test can trace Fentanyl. The substance can be seen in urine for 8 to 24 hours, considering various factors, including weight and age. While this substance is often undetected by a standard urine test after a day, other methods can do.
Fentanyl in your Hair
Hair tests can tell the most features of a person’s health status. The hair’s slow growth makes an accurate timeline of health history possible. That is why hair testing is the most effective way to indicate drug abuse. It tells signs of long-term substance addiction.
Hair can keep traces of Fentanyl for up to three months.
Fentanyl in your Blood
Among all the drug tests, blood testing is the least effective. It cannot detect drug use over a long time.
Despite this, fentanyl is traceable in the bloodstream for up to 12 hours. Even though it is not typically detectable in the blood, the adverse side effects of long-term opioid linger. It manifests in a variety of ways, including life-threatening addiction and potential overdose.
Fentanyl in your Saliva
Saliva is a useful sample for a variety of tests. It can be from DNA to drug testing. Medical practitioners take a spittle sample or saliva swab to learn more about a patient. Saliva drug tests are often more accurate. Unlike blood tests and urine tests, it detects substance use for 1 to 4 days after the last dose.
Having this information, you now know how to detect fentanyl in your system. Elimination of the half-life of the drug is just one factor to check substance addiction. There are still other factors to consider to identify how long fentanyl stays in the body.
Factors That Affect How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in your system
A variety of factors influence how long does fentanyl stay in your system after the last dose. These are:
- Family History
- Food intake
- Metabolic rate
- Urine pH level
- Frequency of Intake
- Duration of use
- Other drugs
With these considerations, you now have a better idea of how to help someone stop using fentanyl. Give them a hand. Show them you care. Guide them as they walk through addiction treatment.
How Long Does Fentanyl Show Up On A Drug Test
Fentanyl is prevalent because it is 100 times more potent than other opioids. It does not metabolize into morphine. It is unlikely to be detected on a standard drug test. So, make sure to take advanced drug tests. This substance is traceable through hair, blood, urine, and saliva tests.
In a quick view, fentanyl may show up in a urine test between 24 to 72 hours after last use. Hairs tests detect the drug for about three months. A blood test detects it between 5 to 48 hours after the previous dose. It all depends on the amount of substance use.
How To Safely Stop Fentanyl Abuse
Trying to get the system fentanyl off is a tough job. Individuals developed a significant substance dependence already. Therefore, withdrawal symptoms are inevitable. The severity varies. The recovery also depends on the length and intensity of use.
After the last dose, withdrawal symptoms of fentanyl may begin within 12 hours. It can last up to a week. Keep in mind that the first three days are usually the most difficult.
Dealing with fentanyl withdrawals on your own is not advisable. It is challenging and dangerous. Do not hesitate to ask for help. There are multiple addiction treatment centers available in Los Angeles and other states. The American Addiction Center released a guide for a better recovery.
Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline
Excruciating withdrawals occur from a sudden stop of substance use. These are evident from people who were under fentanyl addiction and dependence. Bypassing or flushing out fentanyl for recovery is not possible. The only way out is waiting. No one can say how much time it takes to recover one’s health fully.
Be part of a medical detox center. Enroll in a treatment program. It allows you to have social support, resources, and sometimes medication to mitigate severe symptoms.
Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms
Initial withdrawal symptoms occur a few hours after they stop using fentanyl. These symptoms are:
- Sleep problems
- Bone and muscle pain
- Uncontrollable leg movements
- Gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and vomiting
- Cold flashes and goosebumps
- Severe cravings
The first three days are the peak of the symptoms. It takes approximately one week for it to subside. A month after, people begin to feel normal. Nevertheless, trace amounts of the drug remain in the body.
However, withdrawal varies in people’s experience. Some have PAWS or Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome. It happens when symptoms occur for a more extended period, even if they have no more fentanyl in the system. It causes people to experience the following:
- mood swings
- emotional disturbances
It may last for months or even years after withdrawal.
If this happens to your loved one, get the right treatment needed. Look for a licensed therapist or addiction professional. Fentanyl withdrawals and PAWS are easier to manage if you work with them.
During this time of the pandemic (Covid 19), substance abuse is prevalent. People resort to opioid use, thinking it will manage their physical pain. Doing this creates more damage to the body. Get checked by a doctor. Follow the medications and instructions. Always use fentanyl as prescribed. Use fentanyl drug test strips. Most importantly, do not overdose.