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How Long Does Fentanyl Stay In Your System?

Published on December 1, 2020
Hour glass time How Long Does Fentanyl Stay In Your System?

Fentanyl is one of the most dangerous drugs on today’s market. A popular prescription drug, this unique opioid is often used to treat chronic pain. 

With rising rates of fentanyl overdoses, we must begin to understand the real and damaging effects of fentanyl on the human body; most especially, how long fentanyl stays in your system. 

How Long Fentanyl Remains In Your System

In general, and depending on your frequency of use and other factors, fentanyl will remain in your system for 24 to 72 hours. 

Pharmacologists study the elimination half-life of these substances, or the period of time it takes for your body to eliminate or metabolize half of the drug dose. 

Fentanyl Drug Testing

There are a variety of reasons why you may need a drug test. Workplace requirements may include mandatory drug testing or you may have legal obligations to be regularly tested. 

Whatever the case may be, you may need to supply a blood test, urine test, or even a hair test to verify that you are drug-free. 

Blood Test

Although results may vary based on certain factors, expect fentanyl to show up on a blood test for up to two days after using it last.

Urine Test

Fentanyl is likely to show up on a urine test anywhere between one to three days after last use. 

Hair Test

Hair tests can detect traceable levels of narcotics long after the substance was last used. For fentanyl, it can show up on a hair test for up to 90 days (three months).

How Fentanyl Works

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid intended to relieve severe pain. A popular painkiller, this drug is available as a transdermal patch (Duragesic), lozenge, film strip, and tablet. It’s only intended to be used for a short amount of time to relieve pain and discomfort. 

This drug is dangerous as it binds to the body’s opioid receptors. These receptors are stored in the area of the brain that controls pain and emotions. After continued use, the body becomes numb to feelings and pain and only derives its sense of feeling from the drug itself. 

Side effects of fentanyl may include: 

  • drowsiness
  • heightened sense of happiness
  • confusion 
  • constipation
  • nausea 
  • sedation
  • breathing difficulties
  • unconsciousness

Fentanyl Drug Overdose

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 2012 to 2015 the United States had a 264 percent increase in synthetic opioid deaths. 

With the addition of Covid, there has also been a spike in overdose deaths and overall drug abuse leaving many healthcare institutions and treatment programs working hard to treat this growing issue.

The risk of overdose is increased when you consume too high an amount of the drug itself and your body goes into shock. Your breathing or heart rate may become too slow or stop altogether. 

In this extreme case, it may be necessary to immediately administer naloxone in an effort to save someones’ life. Naloxone attaches to the opioid receptors and reverses the effects of the drug on the body. 

Fentanyl Addiction Treatment

Due to the potency of fentanyl and the chance of severe withdrawal symptoms, it’s recommended that no one should detox from this drug without the assistance of trained medical professionals. 

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use, it’s important to seek professional support at a substance abuse treatment program. 

To learn more about the comprehensive treatment options available for opioid addiction, please contact an Ark Behavioral Health specialist today.

Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
This page does not provide medical advice.

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention - Fentanyl | Drug Overdose
National Institute on Drug Abuse - Fentanyl DrugFacts
United Nations: Office on Drugs and Crime - UNODC World Drug Report 2020: Global drug use rising; while COVID-19 has far reaching impact on global drug markets
U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Fentanyl

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