Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid and is provided by medical practitioners, but also distributed and used illegally. It is about 50 times stronger than heroin.

What does it look like?

Fentanyl is available in many forms.
Pharmaceutical fentanyl is used for managing acute or chronic pain, and comes as transdermal patches (Durogesic® and generic versions); Lozenges/lollipops (Actiq®); Intravenous injection (Sublimaze®)


Illicit use:

Some people use fentanyl illegally by extracting the fentanyl from the patch and injecting it.
Fentanyl is sometimes mixed with other drugs to increase potency.
Illicitly manufactured fentanyl can be used as a stand alone product, or a low cost additive to increase the potency of other illicit drugs such as heroin.

Visible signs of potential use of fentanyl

  • Relief from pain

  • Nausea, vomiting

  • Constipation and/or diarrhea

  • Reduced appetite

  • Wind, indigestion, cramps

  • Drowsiness, confusion, dizziness

  • Weakness or fatigue

  • Euphoria

  • Headache

  • Incoherent or slurred speech

  • Impaired balance

  • Rash (inflammation, itch, swelling at patch site)

  • Chest pain and slowed breathing

  • Bluish lips and complexion

  • Passing out

  • Seizure or coma

Please note the effects listed in this information do not automatically indicate that a person is under the influence of illicit drugs. This is only a guide to the possibility.