Fentanyl Addiction – Popular Opiate Drug and Substitute for Heroin and OxyContin


Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate used to help patients manage severe pain. Obviously, it is highly addictive and widely abused. We often see women and men comet to our treatment center seeking help for this opiate addiction which has led them to seek out Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opiate analgesic (pain killer). The synthetic opiate is with a pain killing potency at about 80 to 100 times more than morphine. Fentanyl is used to help patients manage severe pain, treat pain after a surgery, or during a surgery (ie heart procedure). The potent synthetic opiate is also sometime used to treat patients with chronic pain, who are physically tolerant to opiates.

Jump to Treatment Program for Fentanyl Addiction

When a physician prescribes Fentanyl it is usually administered via an injection, trans-dermal patch, or lozenge form. There are several forms of Fentanyl available through prescription. Some of them are known as:

  • Fentora
  • Onsolis
  • Instanly
  • Abstral
  • Alfentanil (Aflenta)
  • Sufentanil (sufenta)
  • Actiq

Actiq is the lollipop of Fentanyl. Actiq is formed to be solid and put on a stick that slowly dissolves in your mouth for trans-mucosal absorption. Actiq is used for individuals that are treating pain from cancer and already have a tolerance to opiates.

Fentanyl is often crushed and smoked, it makes a sweet smell due to the sugar it is mixed with, hence the name “shug.”

Duragesic is a transdermal patch used for chronic pain management. Sublimaze is the original form introduced in the 1960 which is injected, and Carfentanil is used in veterinary practice to sedate certain large animals.

Abusing the pharmaceutical Fentanyl first appeared in the 1970’s, since then there has been 12 different analogues of Fentanyl that have been produced secretly and identified in the U.S. drug traffic. Mostly used by intravenous administration, but like heroin you can also smoke or snort the pain killing drug. Fentanyl is abused for its intense euphoric effects and can serve as a direct substitute for heroin in opioid dependent individuals.

Fentanyl causes a reaction similar to heroin, morphine or other opioid drugs like OxyContin. They drive up the dopamine levels in the brain and cause a state of euphoria and relaxation. However, Fentanyl is a very dangerous substitute for heroin because of how much more potent it can be is compared to heroin.

Most overdoses of Fentanyl are caused be mixing the prescribed drug with a street drug like heroin or cocaine. Besides overdosing, mixing the drugs can cause respiratory /drowsiness, depression, arrest, nausea, confusion, constipation, sedation, unconsciousness, coma, tolerance fallowed by addiction.

Street names for the drug include

  • apache
  • shug (shoog or sug)
  • china girl
  • china white
  • dance fever
  • friend
  • goodfella
  • jackpot
  • murder 8
  • TNT
  • Tango and Cash.

Individual abuse of Fentanyl has lead to pharmacy theft, fraudulent prescriptions, and illicit distribution by patients, physicians and pharmacists. There has also been reported theft in nursing and long-term care facilities. From April 2005- March 2007 there was an outbreak of overdoses and deaths, the DEA surveillance system reported 1,013 confirmed non-pharmaceutical deaths. Overdoses of fentanyl should be treated immediately with an opiate antagonist. This reacts with the opiates effectively and blocks the receptor, preventing the body from responding to opiates and endorphins.

Fentanyl was first synthesized in Belgium by Dr. Paul Janssen in the
late 1950’s, and introduced into medical practice in the 1960’s as an
intravenous anesthetic. The purpose for the narcotic was to use as an
anesthesia and pain killer for surgery procedures like heart surgery or
cancer patients.

Treatment for Fentanyl Addiction

Our treatment center in Southern California has been helping women and men overcome opiate addiction for over 25 years.  Our facility has been known to achieve a high percentage of successful outcomes because of our holistic focus that treats the mind, body and spirit.

We employ a 12-Step based treatment regimen that included a wide variety of evidence based treatment practices that allows us to personalize every client’s treatment program to give them the best possible chance at recovering from fentanyl (opiate) addiction. We also have several programs that allow the client to gradually “step down” the level of care from the primary care stage (closed environment and high supervision) to the extended care stage (allowing for more freedom but still in residential treatment and frequent drug/alcohol screening).

For more information about the treatment programs offered in the Sober Living by the Sea network call 866-323-5609.