Signs of Fentanyl Use

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Fentanyl is one of the most widely used and powerfully addictive drugs. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of its use is one of the best ways to help someone who is suffering from Fentanyl addiction. Once the addiction has been recognized, the treatment can begin. 

There are two types of Fentanyl. Pharmaceutical Fentanyl, and illicitly manufactured Fentanyl.  Both can be deadly. Pharmaceutical Fentanyl is mainly prescribed to treat severe pain and is 50-100 times more potent than morphine. Pharmaceutical Fentanyl can easily be misused or abused.  

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Signs of Fentanyl Use

Signs of Fentanyl addiction can vary significantly from person to person, however, there are some similarities across the board as it pertains to Fentanyl addiction.  

First, someone who is prescribed Fentanyl for pain management is at risk for addiction.  Additional signs may show up as:

  • Withdrawal from work, school, or hobbies.
  • Neglecting personal relationships or avoiding gatherings to hide their addiction
  • Experiencing financial strain 
  • Job loss
  • Criminal activity
  • Obsessive behavior

Symptoms of Fentanyl Use

Symptoms of Fentanyl use can be quite different from person to person. However, the individual will usually appear constantly tired, as the drug produces a short burst of a high with many lows. Symptoms of Fentanyl use to look for include:

  • Chronic tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea 
  • Slurred speech
  • Insomnia 
  • Muscle aches
  • Confusion

On a cognitive level, a person may experience heavy emotions. Anything from rage to a seemingly catatonic state. Fentanyl causes a surge of dopamine which produces a euphoric state. After the euphoric state passes the negative effect begins, often plummeting a person into apathy.  

Behaviorally, poor performance at work, frequent sick days, and multiple doctor visits can all paint a picture of Fentanyl abuse and can be good indicators to watch for.  

An image of a woman staring out of a café window after learning about the signs of fentanyl use

What to Do for a Fentanyl Overdose

In the case of a Fentanyl overdose, immediately call 911. Narcan should be administered if possible, but if not calling 911 and keeping the person as alert as possible is paramount.  Fentanyl can be particularly deadly, therefore, if even the slightest potential of overdose is suspected, calling 911 is of immediate importance.  

Signs of overdose to look for include:

  • Constricted, tiny pupils
  • Falling asleep or losing consciousness
  • Slow breathing or lack of breathing
  • Choking sounds
  • Limpness/weakness
  • Cold/clammy skin
  • Discolored skin (especially in lips and nails)

Fentanyl withdrawals can be very intense, so it is ideal if the person experiencing them goes into professional addiction treatment during detox. Supervised detox is highly recommended in order to avoid potentially dangerous or painful symptoms. 

How to Help Someone Addicted to Fentanyl

Helping someone who is addicted to Fentanyl can be a difficult topic and situation to handle.  Often, people don’t want help, so the idea of changing seems insurmountably difficult. Each situation is different from person to person.  

The first step is for the person to recognize there is a problem. Once the person has recognized there is a problem, they can change. Depending of course on the situation, if the person is underage, then parents have control, if not if the person is over 18, then they will have to be more open to accepting help. 

Helping someone on their journey of recovery after an overdose can be multifaceted. They will need support on many levels; therefore, having as many close friends and family on board is important as well as getting them into a good Fentanyl addiction treatment center. 

An image of California Detox, an addiction treatment facility in Laguna Beach, CA.

Help is Available for Drug Addiction Recovery at California Detox

Detox for someone with a Fentanyl addiction can be quite intense. Withdrawals can be very painful physically and emotionally. In many cases, by the time a person is addicted to Fentanyl, they have been a long-time user of other illicit drugs. Their body and brain have been wired a certain way for a prolonged amount of time. Therefore, detox should occur in a facility that offers 24h monitoring if possible.  

At California Detox, we are able to assist you or your loved one with a safe, comfortable detox and treatment for Fentanyl addiction. Our staff of medical professionals will monitor your detox symptoms, while we simultaneously put together a sustainable treatment plan tailored to you.  

We know how hard breaking the chains of addiction can be. Through group and individual therapy, evidence-based treatment, and a strong community network, we at California Detox are able to help you on your journey. We are ready to help you get your new drug-free life started.   

Reach out to us today at (949) 694-8305 to begin your journey! 


Rainbow fentanyl is fentanyl mixed with dyes and pressed into brightly colored pill form. It is trafficked to be marketed to appeal to teens and young adults.
Some signs of fentanyl contact include slow or no breathing, drowsiness or unresponsiveness, and constricted pupils.


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