How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your System

Fentanyl is a short-acting synthetic opioid. It’s primarily used in pharmaceuticals to help those struggling with severe pain, usually post-surgery.. Short-acting relates to how a substance enters your body, how quickly its effects are felt, and how quickly it exits your body. The amount of time that fentanyl takes to start being felt depends on the type of fentanyl that is used.

Injected fentanyl, which is typically used in hospital settings, provides relief almost immediately. Ingestible forms of fentanyl, such as tablets or nasal sprays, tend to start working within 30 minutes but wear off after 4-6 hours. Finally, fentanyl patches take longer to start working, usually a day or two, but their effects last for longer.

Due to its short-acting nature, the body has less time to adjust to not having the substance in its system when use is stopped. This can lead to withdrawals, which aren’t pleasant to have to manage on your own. We offer many detox services here at Shadow Mountain Recovery. We understand that all of our clients are unique, which is why we offer many paths that lead to your goal of healing and recovery.

What Affects How Long Fentanyl Stays in Your System?

Many things can impact how long a substance stays in your system. Due to Fentanyl short-acting nature, it will still affect you and leave your body within a similar time span, but it can still vary from person to person.

Factors such as age, length of time you’ve used fentanyl, metabolism, and other substances in your system can all influence the longevity of fentanyl.

Fentanyl Drug Tests and Detection Time

There are a handful of ways that someone can test for substances in a person’s system, and each test varies in how long it will hold onto that information and give a positive result. For fentanyl testing, the three primary ways of testing are blood, urine, and hair. Saliva testing doesn’t happen for fentanyl because it was found that it cannot be detected there in any reliable or long-term way.

But how long can fentanyl be detected in each of the types of substance tests?

Detection Time of Fentanyl in Blood

Blood tests are a reliable method of detecting fentanyl in someone, but they can be expensive and invasive, so they aren’t used as often as urine or hair tests. Fentanyl can be detected in the blood for up to 2 days after last use.

Detection Time of Fentanyl in Urine

Urine tests are one of the most common methods for testing for fentanyl use. Fentanyl can be detected in urine as quickly as 2-3 hours after consumption. Positive results for those who used fentanyl can be detected within 3 days of last use.

Detection Time of Fentanyl in Hair

Hair tends to hold onto substances for much longer than other parts of the body. It’s been shown that fentanyl can be detected in hair follicles up to 90 days after the last use of it.

How Can Someone Safely Stop Taking Fentanyl?

When taking fentanyl medically, most doctors will slowly wean you off of it when it’s time for the prescription to stop. This helps reduce potential withdrawal effects and gives your body time to adjust to no longer having fentanyl in the system.

Stopping a substance that someone has been using for a while can be difficult, but luckily in the case of fentanyl, the withdrawal effects people feel are very rarely a danger beyond being uncomfortable.

Here are some of the most common withdrawal side effects:

  • Cold flashes
  • Shakiness/uncontrollable leg movements
  • Cravings
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle and bone aches

The side effects from fentanyl withdrawal can start affecting someone as early as a few  hours after the last use of the substance. It can be difficult to stop taking a substance on your own, especially when you know that taking it again will alleviate your discomfort.

There are medications that can assist in curbing withdrawal symptoms. Having a strong support system who knows what you’re doing and what your goals are is important too. They can help you on your journey and remind you why you’re doing this and what you’re striving to reach.

Another good way to help end a substance use disorder is to look into fentanyl addiction treatments. Here at Shadow Mountain Recovery, we offer ways to help guide our clients safely through detoxification, and onto their road to recovery.

Fentanyl Side Effects and Overdose

In 2019, 74% of all overdoses in New Mexico were tied to opioids. Overdoses tied to fentanyl specifically have risen dramatically since 2020. Many times this stems from people taking fentanyl without knowing it was fentanyl. It is commonly mistaken for normal opioids, and is then taken in a higher dosage. Fentanyl is 50-100x more potent than the average opioid, which leads to many overdoses in these instances. New Mexico was the first ever state to pass the Good Samaritan law back in 2007, which protects those seeking help for others who are overdosing, so you should strive to do so when you know someone who needs help. How do you know, though, if you or a loved one is experiencing a fentanyl overdose?

If your loved one…

  • Slowly becomes less aware and responsive
  • Has slowed breathing
  • Doesn’t respond to stimulation around them
  • Has constricted pupils

… they are probably experiencing a fentanyl overdose, and it’s important that they receive help quickly.

Most people want to prevent an overdose from happening, so how can you identify fentanyl via symptoms or appearance?

Fentanyl comes in many forms, from powder and pills, to eye drops or nasal sprays. These are the more obvious forms it can take, but it is often also mixed in with other substances, many times without the person knowing that it’s mixed in. This is especially dangerous, as fentanyl’s high potency greatly increases the risk of overdose for those partaking.

Those who use fentanyl can experience side effects as well. Here are some common ones you can look out for:

  • Stomach pains
  • Drowsiness
  • Vertigo
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Itchiness
  • Difficulty breathing

It’s important to talk with your loved one if you’re concerned about them. Make sure to approach them with an open mind and compassion. Substance use disorder affects many people throughout the United States, and it’s a very treatable condition.

Shadow Mountain Recovery Fentanyl Treatment Options

At Shadow Mountain Recovery, we believe in the power of healing. We understand that everyone’s life and journey is unique to them, which means that no one treatment method works to help everybody. We believe in individualizing our client’s treatment plans in order to best suit them and ensure they reach their goals.

Surrounded by the beauty of the southwest, we offer detox, inpatient, and outpatient options. We step away from the traditional 12-step method, with a variety of evidence-based treatments available to help you find what works best for you. Many people find strength here in the beautiful nature surrounding us, and we encourage you to find your strength here, as well.

If you or a loved one is struggling with fentanyl use disorder, reach out to us today at 505-657-2117.

FAQs About How Long Does Fentanyl Stay In Your System

Where does fentanyl come from? 

Fentanyl is a powerful, synthetic opioid made in a lab. It’s a prescription medication, though others make it illegally outside of medical settings.

What is fentanyl used for?

Fentanyl is often used in hospital settings to assist with pain management, especially in the case of surgeries. It is prescribed as a pain killer in certain instances, though it is important to follow the doctor’s instructions when using it as a painkiller.

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