Fentanyl Identification

Would you know fentanyl if you saw it? In 2021, New Mexico had 304 Fentanyl-related overdoses. Contributing to this number is the fact that fentanyl is often mixed with other substances to increase the effects. This means people are taking fentanyl without knowing it. Understanding the characteristics of fentanyl and how to test for it can save your life or the life of someone you love.

What Does Fentanyl Look Like?

When produced for medical use, fentanyl is a white powder. Fentanyl is often produced illicitly and can be gray, tan, or off-white. People mix fentanyl with other illicit substances such as heroin or cocaine. It is impossible to tell by looking at a substance if it contains fentanyl. Often, fentanyl is made into pills and resembles prescription medications.

Different Types Of Fentanyl

There are two types of fentanyl. The first type is pharmaceutical fentanyl. This substance is a synthetic opioid, meaning it is manufactured for use in medical situations. Fentanyl helps treat severe pain. Often fentanyl is prescribed for patients with late-stage cancer or patients recovering from surgery.

Illicitly manufactured fentanyl is also a synthetic opioid. It is made to be sold as an illicit substance. Illicitly manufactured fentanyl is available in powder or liquid form. Illicit fentanyl is similar to heroin but more potent than heroin. Often, illicit fentanyl is mixed with other substances to increase the potency. This increases profits for those who sell illicit fentanyl. The practice of mixing fentanyl with other substances to increase profits makes it difficult for a buyer to know how much they are taking, leading to an increase in overdose deaths.

Official Brand Names Of Fentanyl

Actiq is a form of fentanyl that comes in a lozenge. Actiq reduces pain in cancer patients.

Duragesic is fentanyl given through a patch on a person’s upper arm, back, or chest.

Sublimaze is an injection of fentanyl used to treat severe pain. A doctor or other medical professional only gives this form of fentanyl. This will take place in a hospital.

Street Names for Fentanyl

Fentanyl has many street names, including: 

  • Apache
  • China girl
  • China white
  • Dance Fever
  • Friend
  • Goodfella
  • King Ivory
  • Murder 8
  • TNT
  • Tango
  • Cash

How Can I Avoid Fentanyl And Different Types of Fentanyl?

It is impossible to determine if a substance contains fentanyl with your senses. Fentanyl is odorless, tasteless, and often resembles other commonly used substances. Therefore, individuals who participate in substance use should exercise caution by using fentanyl test strips. Fentanyl test strips check a substance for the presence of fentanyl.

To use the strips, you first dissolve a small amount of the substance in water. After this, dip the strip into the water for 15 seconds. Finally, place the strip on a flat surface and wait for the results. They should appear within 5 minutes.

In February 2022, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the Harm Reduction Act, which legalized the use of fentanyl test strips in New Mexico. Fentanyl test strips are not legal in every state, so be aware of local laws if you plan on testing substances outside of New Mexico. The New Mexico Harm Reduction Collaborative offers no cost test strips and training on how to use them. Test strips can also be purchased online. Additionally, they are sometimes available at no cost at a local health department.

Get Treatment For Fentanyl Addiction

39% of all New Mexico overdoses involved fentanyl in 2020, but recovery is possible. Shadow Mountain Recovery Center provides a fentanyl treatment program that utilizes proven methods to help people find recovery and wellness.

To learn more about our treatment program, contact us today at 855-596-0196.

FAQs About the Identification of Fentanyl

A person cannot detect fentanyl with their senses. Therefore, the only reliable way to know if fentanyl is in a substance is to use a fentanyl test strip. No cost test strips, and training to properly use them, is available at The New Mexico Harm Reduction Collaborative. Another option is purchasing test strips online. Some county health departments in New Mexico provide access to fentanyl test strips.

Medical fentanyl is a synthetic opioid. Fentanyl  is similar to morphine but 100 times more powerful.  It is a Schedule II prescription medication used to treat patients with severe pain or to manage pain after surgery. It is also sometimes used to treat patients with chronic pain who are physically tolerant to other opioids.

The United States Drug Enforcement Agency classifies Illicit Fentanyl as a Schedule II narcotic under the United States Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Schedule II substances have a high potential for misuse, and may lead to dependence.

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