Fast Help 1-800-222-1222

Fentanyl is a synthetically made opioid that is used for pain control.  It comes in tablet, patches, liquid, and powder formulations.

It is a controlled substance and requires a prescription; however, it is a drug that is commonly abused and can be purchased illegally.

Fentanyl is very potent.  It is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.  It is a major cause of fatal and non-fatal overdoses each year.

Main concerns and risks of fentanyl:

  • It is now found frequently as an additive/adulterant in other illicit street drugs like heroin, xanax, and oxycodone.
  • The type found in illicit drugs is not pharmaceutical grade.
  • The result of this drug being added or substituted in other illicit drugs has had an alarming number of cases resulting in overdose and death in adults.
  • An amount of powder smaller than a pencil lead is enough to be lethal.

Effects of an overdose:

  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Slowed breathing
  • Clammy skin
  • Extreme lethargy and sleepiness
  • Coma


  • If you take opioids routinely, then ask your pharmacy or your doctor for naloxone, a medication that can be given to reverse the effects of the drug in an emergency.
  • Avoid medication or drugs that were purchased off the street or outside of a pharmacy.

Call NC Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 or chat from this site for questions about an exposure to opioids or for more information.

Last Updated on 12/21/2023