How to Test for Fentanyl: The Complete Guide

Overdose deaths have been on the rise since the nineties and have increased in recent years because of fentanyl. This drug is so dangerous because it is often laced with other substances without disclosing their presence to the user.

But what if this could be prevented? Testing for fentanyl is common in the workplace, but performing tests for the drug in other environments or even in the drug itself can prevent these tragic outcomes.

Continue reading for a guide on fentanyl and the different tests available to detect it.

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a man-made opioid that is up to 100 times stronger than morphine. It was developed for the use of pain management for cancer patients, but because of its strength, became common with drug abuse.

Over the years, Fentanyl has become more unregulated as it became a low-cost additive in drugs like heroin, methamphetamines, ecstasy, and marijuana.

Why Should You Test for Fentanyl?

A fentanyl drug test is a way to identify whether someone is using the drug and can also detect it in other substances. Fentanyl-related overdoses are on the rise because many individuals take a different drug, unaware that it’s laced in.

Testing drugs for traces of fentanyl is a form of overdose prevention designed to keep individuals from overdosing and needing naloxone treatment to survive. Drug screening is also useful in pain management clinics to avoid passing out dangerous drugs to individuals who may be struggling with addiction.

Alternatively, these tests can be used in the workplace, during the rehabilitation process, or for individuals on probation.

Types of Fentanyl Tests

There are several tests available in the market today that test drugs for traces of fentanyl. The most used options are fentanyl test strips and fentanyl urine tests.

Here are some of the most common types of test strips and urine tests available.

Fentanyl Drug Test Strip

Fentanyl test strips are an easy and inexpensive option to test for fentanyl. These strips are used as a fentanyl urine test or they can detect the drug by mixing a solution with water.

They are 99% effective and only take five minutes to see the results. They come in both single and multipacks depending on your needs.

Carfentanil Drug Test Strips

Carfentanil drug test strips work like the fentanyl strips, except they test for carfentanil instead. Like fentanyl, carfentanil is a synthetic opioid but was created to tranquilize large mammals.

This drug is dangerous to users because of its potency and it’s strong that it poses a risk to people who come in contact. This is because it can be accidentally inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

Norfentanyl Drug Test Strips

Norfentanyl is a metabolite of fentanyl. It forms when the body processes and breaks down the drug in your body.

Because these strips only test for a metabolite, they can only be used in urine. They are fast-acting and provide you with accurate results within five minutes.

13 Panel Drug Test Cup

This option is not only a fentanyl test. The 13 Panel Drug Test is a drug screening cup that tests your urine for 13 common drugs in your system. The drugs that the cup can detect are:

  • Amphetamines
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Cocaine
  • Ecstacy
  • Fentanyl
  • Marijuana
  • Methadone
  • Methamphetamine
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone
  • Tricyclic Antidepressants

This type of test is a better option for drug screenings rather than overdose prevention. They require no additional tools and have a temperature strip to ensure the urine is from the intended individual.

How to Test for Fentanyl in Urine

To test urine samples for fentanyl, you can use both the test strips and the test cup.

With the test strips, you’ll dip the strip into a urine sample vertically for around 15 seconds. Then, you’ll remove it from the sample and lay it on a flat surface for five minutes. Read your results right after the intended time, because the reading can be inaccurate after ten minutes.

If you’re using a testing cup, you’ll remove the test cup from the pouch and provide your urine sample. Then you will add the lid, remove the upper label, and wait five minutes for your results.

For both, one line in the control section shows a positive presence of the drug, while two lines equal a negative. If there is no control band, your test is invalid and you’ll need to take it again. For the testing cup, you will see results for each of the 13 substances tested.

How to Test Drugs for Fentanyl

If you’re interested in using tests for overdose prevention, you’ll want to use the test strips. The method varies depending on the form of the drugs, but they will all be mixed with water to perform the test. A good rule of thumb for the amount of water is around an ounce.


For drugs in powder form, you can add water to the packaging it came in and mix. Then, add the test strip to the water and follow the usual instructions.


If a drug is in pill form, you’ll need to crush it up in a baggie and dump the powder out. Then, you’ll follow the same steps as you would for the powders.


Like the other methods, for injectable drugs, you’ll need to add water to identify whether fentanyl is present. After the water is added, mix together and follow the standard test instructions.

Testing for Fentanyl Could Save a Life

Drug testing is most common in the workplace, but it is also a helpful preventative tool.

Knowing how to test for fentanyl is an important prevention method for overdoses and allowing dangerous drugs into the wrong hands. Several organizations have started using test strips as a tool to save lives. Having these tests available can make a positive impact.

At 12PanelNow, we offer a variety of tests to suit your needs, whether it be bulk test strips or full panel cups. Browse our section and order yours today.


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