In recent years, Fentanyl has been making headlines. Across the country, the opioid epidemic has seen an influx of synthetic opioids like fentanyl in circulation. As more people develop an opioid addiction, the demand for illicit fentanyl has increased.
A synthetic opioid is one that is man-made as opposed to naturally occurring opioids like morphine. If you have ingested fentanyl, either purposefully or accidentally, you may be wondering: how long does fentanyl stay in your system?
What is Fentanyl?
Legal opioids are medications approved to treat severe pain. Opioids are made from the naturally occurring opium poppy plant and they are highly addictive. Morphine is a pain killer that is made from this plant and is frequently used to medically treat pain. However, illegal drugs, like heroin, that are used for substance abuse, are also made from morphine.
Opioids are highly addictive due to their rewarding effects on the brain. Fentanyl works by directly contacting the opioid receptors in the brain, to minimize pain and release pleasure chemicals. They relax the nerve cells in the central nervous system, producing a calming, sedative effect.
Opioids can directly affect body temperature regulation, breathing, and heart rate. People who take opioids report a euphoric feeling throughout the body and mind. As a result of these pleasurable effects, opioids are frequently used for drug abuse.
In response to the growing rates of opioid addiction, the synthetic and powerful opioid fentanyl has seen a vast rise in popularity. It can be legally prescribed in essential medical cases, such as part of cancer treatment. The prescription form of fentanyl can be a lozenge, a sublingual tablet, a transdermal patch, or a buccal tablet.
These forms are rarely abused as they are in low, controlled doses. However, synthetic opioids like fentanyl can be illegally manufactured. Purchasing illegal fentanyl is a type of fentanyl abuse. Addiction to fentanyl can be highly destructive to a person and addiction treatment is usually required.
Anyone can develop a fentanyl addiction. Addiction is a chronic illness that can affect anyone, of any age, race, gender, or occupation. As opioids are used medically to treat pain, many people are exposed to opioids at some point without realizing how addictive these opioids can be.
For example, a person may be given opioids for severe pain after an accident or injury. They may not begin by taking illicit fentanyl and their addiction could start with other drugs of the opioid class. OxyContin is a powerful opioid that is used to treat pain and is typically prescribed in a tablet form. Many people who take illicit forms of opioids, such as fentanyl or heroin, started with a prescription.
People who suffer from chronic pain due to health issues are likely to become addicted to painkillers. If a person is in constant pain, it makes sense they would become dependent on substance use that takes that pain away. Furthermore, mental health disorders often underlie addiction. Those who suffer from mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are at high risk of developing a drug addiction.
Due to their known addictive properties, prescription opioids are difficult to obtain legally. After a prescription has run out, a person who has become addicted to the drug may be compelled to seek illicit opioids like fentanyl.
Risks of Fentanyl Addiction
With repeated fentanyl use, a person could become physically dependent on the drug. Fentanyl abuse can look like illegally buying fentanyl, taking fentanyl for longer than advised, or taking higher doses than is therapeutically necessary. A person may obtain fentanyl illegally in powder form or even as an injectable solution.
Snorting fentanyl is a type of substance abuse and when illegally obtained, it is difficult to know how strong the substance is. Illegal fentanyl is often extremely potent and carries a high risk of overdose. Snorting also causes unique physical issues, especially to the respiratory system. As a person puts the drug directly into the nose, the delicate mucous membranes within the nose can become damaged.
Furthermore, extensively engaging in this type of drug use can cause respiratory depression. Respiratory depression is a condition that inhibits a person’s breathing ability. Over time, this can be life-threatening and can even cause respiratory arrest.
A person can become psychologically dependent on fentanyl and other opioids. While using the drug, the chemical effect will cause a person to feel extreme happiness. When the drug wears off, so do these positive feelings.
If a person has become physically dependent on fentanyl, stopping without addiction treatment can be incredibly difficult. Opioid dependence can lead to particularly difficult withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms can be mental, physical, and emotional.
Opioid addiction is known to have a very difficult withdrawal period compared to other drugs. While any prolonged substance use will cause discomfort, opioid withdrawal can cause breakthrough pain.
Opioid withdrawal can even be life-threatening. A person may experience withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Muscle aches
- High blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Runny nose
The withdrawal symptoms can peak and become less severe as the substance leaves the person’s system. The severity of the withdrawal will also depend on how much fentanyl the person takes and how long they have been addicted. If you are going through fentanyl addiction or withdrawal, you may be wondering how long fentanyl stays in your system.
How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your System?
Many jobs can require a person to undergo drug testing. A drug test will search for certain drugs in the body. In the case of a drug overdose, forensic medicine is employed to detect fentanyl or other drugs in the system to determine cause of death.
Drug testing can be carried out via urine tests, blood tests, saliva tests, or even hair tests. The most common type of drug tests conducted are done on the urine. A urine test is often carried out by employers as it is a reliable and easy way to conduct a drug test.
Different medications have what’s known as an elimination ‘half-life’ time. The elimination half-life of a drug refers to how long it takes for the full dose of the drug to be reduced by fifty percent (half) in the body. Of course, a drug’s half-life can also vary from person to person due to varying rates of individual metabolisms.
The fentanyl half-life depends on the type of drug test used to detect fentanyl. The higher the dose of the drug, the longer the drug will stay in your system. The half-life of fentanyl will also depend on how the fentanyl was ingested. For example, the half-life of the Fentanyl Citrate Injection is 219 minutes.
Blood Test: How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your Blood?
Blood testing is a common method of drug level analysis. Blood tests are carried out by drawing blood from a vein and testing specifically for substance use. Fentanyl can typically be detected in a blood test between five and forty-eight hours after ingestion. However, how long fentanyl stays present in the blood will depend on the dosage.
Urine Test: How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your Urine?
A urine test is the most common method of drug testing. It is done by collecting a sample of the person’s urine and testing for drug levels. In a urine test, fentanyl will appear around twenty-four hours after it was taken. It will still be present in the urine for up to seventy-two hours.
Saliva Test: How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your Saliva?
Saliva tests are conducted by swabbing the inside of a person’s mouth to collect a sample. However, these kinds of drug tests are known to be unreliable. A saliva test is unable to detect fentanyl use at any level.
Hair Test: How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your Hair?
Hair testing is done by collecting a sample of a person’s hair to test for drugs. They are not extremely common as they are more expensive than urine or blood tests.
Furthermore, as our scalp collects metabolized particles from the body, they are an indicator of long-term drug exposure rather than continued or recent use. In fact, fentanyl can be detected in a hair test up to three months after initial use.
Fentanyl Addiction Treatment
Opioid addiction can be detrimental to a person’s emotional, financial, spiritual, and physical well-being. A person can lose their job, develop health issues, and damage relationships.
Many employers across the US conduct drug tests and for this reason, you may be wondering how long does fentanyl stay in your system. Furthermore, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reports that fatal fentanyl overdoses continue to rise.
There are many treatment centers that can help. Seeking addiction treatment can be daunting and it is natural to feel afraid.
Cirque Lodge is a leading rehab centre in the US. At our luxury treatment facilities in Utah, we offer support for addiction to fentanyl and other substances. We offer comprehensive residential treatment with services such as medical detox, behavioral therapies, and support for family members. Recovery is in our nature.