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Fentanyl is a deadly synthetic opioid. Although up to 100 times stronger than morphine, fentanyl detox is similar to detoxification from other opioids.

As the United States opioid epidemic enters its third wave, fentanyl is the primary driver. The most recent data from SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) indicated that opioid abuse is again on the rise. 2.7 million U.S. adults had opioid use disorder in 2020. Among these, over 2.3 million were addicted to prescription opioid painkillers.

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Data from CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) shows that over 75,000 of the 100,000 fatal U.S. drug overdoses reported in 2020 involved opioids, mainly fentanyl. 

Fentanyl detox lasts from a few days to several weeks after the last dose of fentanyl. Many factors influence the detoxification timeline, including: 

  • Quantity of fentanyl in your system.
  • Other addictive substances in your system.
  • Typical dosage of fentanyl.
  • Route of delivery (patch or injectable).

This guide highlights what you can expect from fentanyl withdrawal and how to detox as safely and comfortably as possible at a fentanyl detox center. 

What to Expect when You Detox from Fentanyl

The long-term use of fentanyl will accelerate the development of tolerance and dependence. Additionally, the risk of abuse and addiction – clinically described as opioid use disorder – is heightened. Opioid use disorder is a chronic and lifelong condition. 

Tolerance to a synthetic opioid like fentanyl forms swiftly. When this occurs, the effects of fentanyl are diminished as your body becomes accustomed to the continuous presence of opioids. If you attempt to use more fentanyl to counter your growing tolerance, this will hasten the presentation of physical dependence. 

If you are physically dependent on fentanyl, you will experience intense cravings for the drug and severe withdrawal symptoms will manifest in its absence, lasting for a week or so after the last use of fentanyl. Addiction typically follows physical dependence. Where dependence is physical, addiction is a relapsing brain condition characterized by compulsive substance use regardless of ruinous consequences.

Fentanyl detox involves withdrawal over a week or so. Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms are a physical and psychological manifestation of your body struggling to adjust to a lack of opioids. 

An image of a man experiencing the effects of fentanyl detox

How Long Does It Take to Detox from Fentanyl?

During fentanyl withdrawal, the first adverse symptoms present anywhere from 8 hours to 48 hours after the last use of fentanyl. 

The onset and duration of withdrawal depends on the quantity and frequency of fentanyl doses. 

Although every case of fentanyl detox is unique, withdrawal normally lasts for about one week. 

Fentanyl Detox Timeline

Here is a typical timeline for fentanyl detoxification:

Day 1 of detoxing from fentanyl

As a short-acting opioid, fentanyl withdrawal symptoms usually manifest 8 to 24 hours after last using fentanyl.

During the first day of detox, these symptoms will appear: 

  • Cravings
  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Aggression
  • Depression
  • Muscular pains
  • Headaches
  • Appetite loss
  • Insomnia

Day 2 of detoxing from fentanyl

In addition to the above symptoms, the following side effects can crop up on day 2 of fentanyl detox: 

  • Runny nose
  • Excessive sweating
  • Upset stomach
  • Panic attacks

Day 3 of detoxing from fentanyl

Withdrawal symptoms peak during day three of fentanyl detox. 

This acute phase of fentanyl detox involves the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

All of the symptoms listed above are also liable to continue and peak on the third day of withdrawal. 

Day 4 of detoxing from fentanyl

With acute fentanyl withdrawal complete, you may find that the following symptoms persist: 

  • Fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Cramps
  • Shivering
  • Enlarged pupils

Day 7 of detoxing from fentanyl

Although the majority of fentanyl withdrawal symptoms will subside after about a week, the following symptoms may linger: 

  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia

PAWS (post-acute withdrawal syndrome) is the most severe form of fentanyl withdrawal. The following symptoms of PAWS can persist for months after the discontinuation of fentanyl: 

  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Intense cravings for opioids
  • Depressed mood
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Detox from Fentanyl at California Detox

Although fentanyl is a fiercely addictive and potentially lethal drug, fentanyl addiction typically responds positively to pharmacological and behavioral interventions. 

At California Detox, we provide treatment programs at all intensity levels, including: 

  • Inpatient programs (residential rehab)
  • Outpatient programs
  • IOPs (intensive outpatient programs)
  • Virtual IOPs (remote rehab)
  • PHPs (partial hospitalization programs)
  • Dual diagnosis treatment (for addictions with co-occurring mental health conditions)

If you have been searching for fentanyl detox near me, take advantage of our licensed medical detox center in Orange County. Your treatment team can administer FDA-approved medications to alleviate the severity of cravings for opioids and to reduce fentanyl withdrawal symptoms. You will also have clinical and emotional care available around the clock, maximizing your chances of negotiating fentanyl detox without relapsing. 

MAT (medication-assisted treatment) can be beneficial throughout ongoing fentanyl addiction treatment. MAT is delivered alongside the following therapies at California Detox: 

  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Psychotherapy (CBT or DBT)
  • Holistic therapy

Avoid becoming a statistic of the unresolved U.S. opioid epidemic and move from fentanyl addiction into detox and ongoing recovery. At California Detox, we’re here to help you from detox to discharge and beyond. Call 949.390.5377 for immediate assistance and a supervised fentanyl detox.


If you detox from fentanyl in a medical detox center, a treatment team can immediately intervene in the event of complications. Although uncomfortable, a supervised fentanyl detox is typically safe. Detoxing from fentanyl at home, on the other hand, could be life-threatening.
Look for a licensed medical detox center with credentialed staff experienced in all aspects of detoxification and recovery. Make sure that the treatment facility offers counseling and emotional care as well as robust clinical care. You should consider detoxing at the same rehab center where you will engage with ongoing treatment. This allows you to smoothly transition from fentanyl detox into ongoing MAT and psychotherapy in an inpatient or outpatient setting.


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