How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Fentanyl Stay In Your System

How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your System?

Fentanyl has grabbed newspaper headlines over the last decade for a number of overwhelmingly negative reasons. It has been responsible for thousands of opioid overdose deaths in the United States.

In fact, in 2019 we saw that opioids were involved in a total of 49,460 deaths in the U.S. alone. If we take into account that 72.

9% of all opioid-involved overdose deaths were caused by synthetic opioids (such as fentanyl), we can see why fentanyl use is an urgent issue that must be addressed.

In order to fully understand how long fentanyl can remain in the body, we must first know what the drug is and how it affects its users.

What Is the Drug Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is an entirely synthetic opioid compound that was first created in a lab in 1960 by the Belgian chemist Paul Janssen of Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

From its creation, it was marketed and sold for the treatment of moderate to severe levels of pain.

It is one of only a few opioid painkillers approved for the long-term treatment of chronic severe pain and is primarily prescribed to people living with a high level of chronic pain and tolerance to other painkillers.

Fentanyl is extremely potent and a stronger opioid than either heroin or morphine. In fact, the drug is estimated to be 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Because of how strong it is, over time it has shifted from just being an effective way to treat severe levels of chronic pain to also being a commonly misused intoxicating street drug.

While fentanyl continues to gain popularity as a powerful street drug, it is still prescribed as an effective medical tool for the treatment of severe chronic pain. It is sold under the brand names Sublimaze, Actiq, and Duragesic. In a medical setting, fentanyl is administered most commonly in a pill, an injection, in lozenges, or in medicated adhesive patches.

As a street drug, fentanyl is sold and consumed in a widely varying number of different forms. It can be sold as a powder or pressed into pills and made to look fake or counterfeit versions of other prescription opioid drugs. Fentanyl is also dissolved in a solution and dropped onto paper tabs, similar to LSD or “acid.”

The biggest danger for fentanyl overdose occurs when the drug is repackaged as counterfeit versions of known opioids. Fentanyl is very commonly added to heroin to increase the heroin’s potency.

Too often, consumers of these street-level opioids believe they are purchasing one drug, but in reality, they are purchasing a disguised version of the much more potent and dangerous fentanyl.

This commonly leads to overdose and death.

Where Does Fentanyl Come From?

A majority of the fentanyl that is produced for legitimate medical use is manufactured in China and exported to the United States. A large portion of this fentanyl is also diverted for illegal street sale and smuggled across borders. Eventually, the drug reaches people in the United States via mail, from the “Dark Web,” or from the efforts of drug cartels.

What Does Fentanyl Do to the Body?

Fentanyl is an opioid drug that can suppress some of the functions of the central nervous system (CNS) such as breathing rate, heart rate, and body temperature regulation.

Fentanyl works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain, causing an increase in the chemical dopamine, which is responsible for feelings of pleasure. The result of this increase in dopamine is sedation, relaxation, and extreme happiness. For this reason, fentanyl has a high rate of addiction.

After someone engages in extended opioid use, their brain begins to adjust to this newfound source of pleasure chemicals and stops producing them on its own. When fentanyl is removed from the equation, the brain and body are left to readjust, leading to the negative symptoms of withdrawal.

How long and how severe withdrawal will be will vary from person to person, but there are some symptoms everyone has. These symptoms can range from mild to severe, and while they can be extremely uncomfortable, they are not generally seen as life-threatening.

Some of these symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal cramps, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting
  • Restlessness, agitation, and irritability
  • Tremors and goosebumps
  • Fatigue
  • Hypertension and rapid heart rate
  • Muscle spasms and impaired breathing
  • Anxiety, depression, and difficulty feeling positive feelings or pleasure
  • Extreme drug cravings

How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your System?

Fentanyl can be detected in the body for varying amounts of time depending on the person’s biological makeup, metabolism, and the method of testing used. The following are general guidelines for the detection of fentanyl using different tests:

Urine Test:

Tests can typically detect fentanyl in the urine from 1 to 3 days after consumption.

Blood Test:

Fentanyl can typically be detected in the blood for up to 48 hours.

Hair Follicle Test:

Hair follicles can show if fentanyl has been consumed for up to three months.

Saliva Test:

Saliva is not an effective way to detect recent fentanyl use.

There are several factors that affect how long fentanyl will remain in a person’s system, so these timelines are not always completely accurate. The biggest thing that can affect how long fentanyl remains in a person’s system is the method of administration. As outlined above, fentanyl is administered in a number of different ways.

Different methods of administration result in different “half-lives.” A drug’s half-life is the amount of time it takes for half of the drug to be eliminated from a person’s system. Once half the drug has left the system, the majority of its intoxicating effects have worn off.

  • Intravenous (injected) fentanyl: When fentanyl is injected, it has a half-life of 2 to 4 hours, depending on the size of the dose.
  • Transdermal fentanyl: When fentanyl is administered through the skin via adhesive patch, it is absorbed more slowly and has a longer half-life. The half-life of the drug when taken transdermally is about 17 hours.
  • Transmucosal (orally administered) fentanyl: When fentanyl is absorbed through the mucous membranes in the mouth, typically in the form of lozenges, it has a half-life of anywhere from 5 to 14 hours, depending on the specific formulation.

Other factors that can affect the rate at which fentanyl leaves the system include a person’s:

  • Age
  • Height and weight
  • Body fat content
  • Genetics
  • Food consumption
  • Metabolic rate
  • Liver function
  • Average fentanyl dosage amount
  • Duration of use
  • Overall health
  • Use of other substances

What Are the Signs And Symptoms of Fentanyl Use?

A very small amount of fentanyl can kill a person. This means overdose is a common occurrence for people who use fentanyl. Knowing the signs and symptoms of fentanyl addiction could help save your life or that of a loved one.

The signs of fentanyl addiction are similar to the signs of addiction to other opioids, such as heroin. These include the compulsive use of fentanyl or other opioids, intense cravings for the drug, showing impaired judgment regarding the drug, or continuing to use fentanyl despite obvious harm or negative consequences.

When someone is actively under the influence of fentanyl, it is ly to cause some signs that are easy to identify. Some of these signs include:

  • Constant drowsiness or “nodding off”
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Intense sweating, flushing, and hot flashes
  • Slowed or labored breathing

One thing to note about fentanyl addiction is that the person may have initially suffered from addiction to a less powerful opioid, prescription or otherwise. The nature of opioid addiction is such that the person will begin to build a tolerance to the drug over time. This means the person will have to take higher amounts to reach the desired level of intoxication.

Because of fentanyl’s higher potency, people who suffer from opioid addiction may seek out fentanyl as a way to “beat” their opioid tolerance and achieve the intoxication they desire. This is an extremely dangerous practice and too often leads to overdose and death.

Your Search for Effective Treatment for Fentanyl Addiction is Here with MAT from Serenity Lane

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the use of certain medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a unique approach to the treatment of substance use disorders.

Some of the medications approved by the FDA for MAT are naltrexone, buprenorphine, and methadone.

These work best in combination with clinical therapies for the treatment of substance use disorders — which is why MAT exists.

Medications used in MAT work by normalizing brain chemistry, relieving physiological cravings, and normalizing body functions without the negative withdrawal symptoms of opioids fentanyl.

It’s important to understand that medication alone is not a cure-all solution for opioid addiction. Medication at Serenity Lane is used as just one piece of our comprehensive treatment programs.

Serenity Lane has been a trailblazer in the addiction treatment space and has served the Oregon community since 1973.

We offer individualized, effective, and innovative solutions for our clients, neighbors, colleagues, friends, acquaintances, and family members struggling with fentanyl dependency or any other addiction.

Our residential treatment center in Coburg, Oregon, can help you or a loved one today.

Don’t wait another day to get the help you or a loved one needs. Call to speak to a recovery specialist now: (800) 543-9905


Signs, Support And Treatment — NEATC

How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your System?

When you’re detoxing from fentanyl, it’s natural to wonder how long until the drug is your system completely. It’s the strongest opioid drug that exists that is 100 times more powerful than heroin—so does that mean it spends more time in your body than other opioids? 

Not necessarily. Your body works the same way when it removes any opioid from your system. You might feel the effects of fentanyl much more strongly than those of heroin, but they won’t stick around in your body for much longer. 

The best way to know whether fentanyl is still in your system is by taking a drug test. If you’re in active treatment, searching for a job, or reporting to a parole board, then you might be required to take regular drug tests. The types of drug tests for fentanyl include hair, saliva, blood, and urine tests. 

Here’s what you need to know about fentanyl, how it passes through your body, and how quickly it leaves your body: 

How Does Fentanyl Work?

Fentanyl is an opioid pain medication, which means that it works by blocking opiate receptors in the brain that manage the way you experience pain.

When the receptor is blocked by the opioid drug, it stops you from feeling pain as strongly. All opioid drugs work this way. There are other effects as well, which include euphoria. 

Fentanyl is very effective at managing severe pain, so it is often used to treat terminal cancer pain and other chronic, severe pain. 

Most drugs that cause euphoria can lead to abuse, and fentanyl is one of them. This drug is up to 100 times as potent as heroin, so it can cause effects at much lower doses than other opiates and opioids (This means it’s that much more ly to cause overdose, death, and other harm). 

Fentanyl Methods of Use

Fentanyl comes in several different administration methods. They include: 

  • Intravenous fentanyl: Fentanyl is administered as a liquid through a sterile tube that goes into your veins. This is the quickest way to achieve effects—for instance, it’s used to relieve labor pain in birthing women in seconds. 
  • Oral fentanyl tablets: Tablets are usually placed between your cheek and your tongue to dissolve. This is called buccal administration. People who abuse fentanyl sometimes crush the tablets into powder and snort them or inject them. 
  • Transmucosal fentanyl lozenges: These are hard drops that you put under your tongue or in your cheek pocket. As they dissolve, they absorb into the soft tissues of your mouth, where they reach the bloodstream quickly. Sometimes they come on a stick in a lollipop form for easier use. 
  • Transdermal fentanyl patch: A sticky patch is applied to your skin, which absorbs fentanyl very slowly over time into the blood. 

All of these methods have one thing in common: They get the fentanyl into your bloodstream, although at different speeds. 

Once fentanyl is in your bloodstream, you start feeling the effects of the drug. 

Effects of Fentanyl

  • Euphoria, or feeling “high” 
  • Digestive problems, including constipation, discomfort, and nausea
  • Sedation, or feeling some combination of relaxed, sleepy, and calm
  • Slowed breathing 

As the effects kick in, your body is working to remove fentanyl from your bloodstream gradually. The blood filters through your liver and kidneys, where fentanyl is filtered out. As this happens, you’ll start feeling the effects of fentanyl less and less. 

How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your System if You Eat It?

Fentanyl takes about two days to leave your digestive system after you take it orally, and the effects stop after two to four hours. 

It’s important to remember that even though fentanyl has left your digestive system, it can still show up on a drug test for longer. That’s up to 90 days for a hair test, up to four days for a saliva test, and up to two days for a blood test. 

How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your System if You Smoke It? 

When you smoke fentanyl, the effects begin almost immediately. The effects continue for 30 to 60 minutes, and you’ll continue to test positive for the drug for days or hours after (depending on the type of test). 

How Long Does a Fentanyl Patch Stay in Your System?

Fentanyl patches keep working for about three days after using—that is, three days from the time you remove the patch, not three days from the day you put it on. 

As always, fentanyl continues to show up on drug tests after you’ve stopped feeling the effects. It could be 90 days before you test negative on a hair test. 

How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your System for a Urine Test?

A urine test starts detecting fentanyl around 12 hours after you’ve used the drug, and it can continue to detect the drug for up to 48 hours. 

Urine tests aren’t the only drug tests that can pick up fentanyl in your system. Other types of drug tests that could detect fentanyl include: 

  • Blood tests: A blood test for fentanyl usually detects the drug anywhere from 5 to 48 hours after use. 
  • Saliva tests: This kind of test can detect fentanyl for 1 to 4 days after you’ve used it. 
  • Hair tests: A hair test can detect most drugs in your system for 90 days after use, including fentanyl. 

How Do You Detox From Fentanyl Faster?

You can’t choose to detox from fentanyl faster. Your body processes it at a set rate, and you can’t force your liver or kidneys to work more quickly. 

There are factors that affect how fast your body will detox, but they are mostly outside of your control.

However, your drug use habits do affect detox length, and that’s within your control—or it can be. If you use fentanyl heavily, very often, or with other opioids, your detox period could take longer. 

You shouldn’t try to reduce fentanyl use without medical help. Fentanyl withdrawal can be severely painful, and it’s best to be monitored while you’re experiencing it. 

Detox From Fentanyl With Inpatient Opioid Treatment

You can detox more comfortably with the help of inpatient treatment. This kind of rehabilitation involves close monitoring and keeping your symptoms under control. When your withdrawal symptoms are controlled, you can focus on getting better rather than worrying about cravings and pain. 

The benefits of inpatient treatment for substance abuse include access to:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This type of therapy involves learning about your thought patterns so you can avoid thoughts that make you want to relapse. It’s considered the most effective kind of therapy for substance abuse. 
  • Medication-assisted treatment: Medications such as buprenorphine and methadone block opioid receptors in the brain. This prevents cravings and withdrawal, making detox easier to handle. 
  • Group therapy: Many people living with substance abuse disorders find that recovery is easier with minds for support. Group therapy can take the form of talk therapy, family therapy, or a support group. 
  • Consultations with medical professionals: No two recoveries are exactly the same. Having medical professionals around means that your treatment can be tailored to your needs as you go through detox. 

Your recovery could start today, so what are you waiting for? Call a certified treatment center today to make the first step toward a sober life! 



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