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An Overview of the Fentanyl Drug Test

What is Fentanyl?

Much deadlier than heroin, fentanyl is becoming a popular drug abused by opiate addicts. Medically, fentanyl is used to help relieve ongoing pain; a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic, it works in the brain to help change how your body feels and responds to pain. Fentanyl is classified as Schedule II prescription drug. Often used with cancer patients or after surgery, it is a powerful opioid. This drug is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl is taken with injection, transdermal patch, or in lozenges. On the street, we hear fentanyl being called China Girl, Apache, China White, Goodfella, Jackpot, and Dance Fever. The music legend Prince died from Fentanyl.

The Fentanyl we see on the street is typically produced in clandestine laboratories and known as non-pharmaceutical fentanyl. Abusers usually swallow, snort, or inject fentanyl. Sometimes it is sold on blotter paper and it is put in the mouth, so the fentanyl is absorbed through the mucous membrane. On the street, fentanyl is also mixed with or substituted for heroin, and this is causing deaths throughout America. Dealers are adding fentanyl to weaker batches of heroin because it works so well and is so very addictive. Often heroin users do not know that the drug they are taking contains fentanyl and overdose is very possible and not planned. Mixtures of cocaine and fentanyl have also been found and also deadly. Naloxone is a drug used to reverse the fentanyl overdose and potentially save lives.


What are the Effects of Fentanyl?

When abusing fentanyl, the user experiences euphoria but then may get depressed and confused. The drug stimulates the opioid receptors in the brain to create feelings of pleasure, peace, and relaxation. When used excessively or with high doses, the user may frequently nod off and then wake up not realizing they were out for a short period.

Extremely addictive, excessive and long-term Fentanyl use will cause an individual to take more and more Fentanyl to achieve the same high. This puts the user at risk for overdose possibly leading to death. Like many opioids there are potential side effects of fentanyl use both medically and by users of non-pharmaceutical fentanyl. Some of these side effects include confusion, itching, constipation, sweating, tightness in the throat, and trouble concentrating.

When taken medically, a doctor will likely taper the person off fentanyl or replace it with another drug. This is not the case when fentanyl is being abused. Overdose is caused by respiratory depression, where breathing is slowed to the point that not enough oxygen can reach the brain.

Fentanyl Short-Term Effects

  • Euphoria & drowsiness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea, confusion
  • Hallucinations, unconsciousness, coma or death
  • Respiratory depression and arrest

Fentanyl Long-Term Effects

  • Harm personal life and relationships
  • Initiate or worsen mental health conditions
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Decreased oxygen in the body tissues – anoxic injury
  • Multiple organ system damage
Fentanyl Crystals and Pills

Understanding the Fentanyl Drug Test

Since the early 1980s, drug testing programs have expanded across the United States. A Fentanyl drug test is not included in the standard 5-panel drug test primarily used by employers. This 5-panel drug test includes marijuana, cocaine, amphetamine / methamphetamine, opiates, and PCP. Typically every drug test panel does not include a test for Fentanyl. Another common drug test utilized is the ten-panel drug test with expanded opiates includes: AMP-Amphetamines (MAMP-Methamphetamine, MDMA-Ecstasy), COC-Cocaine, PCP-Phencyclidine, THC-Marijuana, BZO-Benzodiazepines, BAR-Barbiturates, MTD-Methadone, PPX-Propoxyphene, Meth – Methaqualone, OPI-Opiates (including heroin, codeine, and morphine) and expanded Opiates which adds Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Oxycodone and Oxymorphone. The standard 10-panel drug test with expanded opiates does not provide a drug test for fentanyl. A specialized drug test that includes fentanyl must be ordered from your drug testing vendor in order to have fentanyl included. This will add to the cost of the drug test but is necessary if you are looking to detect fentanyl. Typically, fentanyl is added to the ten-panel drug test with expanded opiates. Other drug testing panels that might include fentanyl are often called healthcare professional panels. Most hospitals and medical facilities include testing for fentanyl in their employment drug testing programs as fentanyl is readily available in a hospital or other medical facility environment.

With urine drug testing, Fentanyl breaks down into two metabolites and this is detected in the drug screen. Fentanyl and its three metabolites (norfentanyl, hydroxyfentanyl, and hydroxynorfentanyl) are detectable in urine within two to three hours and for a period of two to three days after a single use. A Fentanyl drug test should be performed by a professional service using a laboratory certified by the Federal government. Initial screening and confirmation testing should be included. We do not see fentanyl being available with an oral fluid or saliva drug tests. Beware of an instant rapid drug test for Fentanyl that may show a false positive result for cocaine. Most of the instant, rapid or point of collection (POCT) test products on the market today, do not have a drug test for fentanyl, so lab testing is necessary.

How long Fentanyl stays in your system is not the same for each user. Body weight, frequency of use, and potency of the drug are all factors. With urine drug tests, we can typically detect use from 2 to 3 days while hair drug testing for fentanyl will show the drug for up to 90 days when testing head hair.

Fentanyl drug testing can be with urine, hair or blood. Each shows a different look back period with oral fluid the shortest and hair the longest. Our laboratories at National Drug Screening can perform a hair test for Fentanyl or a urine test for Fentanyl. Urine and hair drug testing are the most common screening tests for Fentanyl. A blood test is invasive and very expensive so not used very often. The hair drug test for Fentanyl is used to show use going back up to 90 days. If you want to know how to pass a Fentanyl drug test, it is best to stop using cocaine. You can then always get a Fentanyl drug test to make sure you are now clean.

If you need to order a hair test for fentanyl, you want to order the 14-panel hair test. This is a very comprehensive hair drug test that includes: propoxyphene, cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines (methamphetamine & ecstasy), phencyclidine (PCP), opiates (Codeine, Morphine & 6-MAM Heroin Metabolite, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, and Hydromorphone), barbiturates, benzodiazepines, methadone, tramadol, sufentanil, fentanyl, and meperidine.

If you want to order a urine test for fentanyl, you want to order the 12-panel urine drug test. This is a very comprehensive urine drug test that includes: Marijuana, Cocaine, PCP, Amphetamines, Methamphetamines, Opiates (Codeine, Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Morphine, Oxycodone and Oxymorphone), Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines, Propoxyphene, Methadone, Tramadol, Fentanyl, and Meperidine.