Select Page


Fentanyl addiction treatment is becoming a life-or-death necessity in many communities across the United States as more and more individuals are becoming exposed to this dangerous opioid. Developed in the late 1950s, fentanyl was approved for I.V. use in the U.S. as an anesthetic in the 1960s. However, it did not become a serious addiction problem until after 1995 when patch and lozenge versions of the drug were approved for pain control.

Fentanyl in a Medical Setting

Fentanyl is a fully synthetic opioid that is used to treat moderate to severe pain. It is ideal in the hospital and anesthetic setting because it causes relatively minor changes in blood pressure and heart rate, has a fast onset of action, and a short duration of action. However, fentanyl in the wrong hands is downright dangerous, particularly since it is 50 – 100 times more potent than morphine. This makes it extremely likely to result in overdose when used outside of a medically-monitored setting.

How Fentanyl Works

Fentanyl activates the same opioid receptors as do most of the other opioids. In this way, fentanyl replaces natural endorphins as a neurotransmitter. Natural endorphins (opioids) act as modulators for mood, the immune system, pain, and other vital processes such as sexual activity, hunger, and thirst. Also, through many pathways, the “pleasure neurotransmitter” dopamine is released, which lends to pleasure seeking and reward seeking behavior. This process facilitates the development, progression, and sustainability of addiction. And, once an individual is addicted, only professionally administered fentanyl addiction treatment is likely to have any chance of success in helping the individual break free from its grip.

illustration about fentanyl addiction showing two test tubes with one being full and the other being almost empty

Street Names for Fentanyl

Fentanyl and fentanyl/heroin mixtures are known by many names when sold on the street. In their pursuit of steady customers, drug dealers even engage in what you might call branded marketing of their deadly product, coining brand names and using easily identifiable packaging for their specific formulation of fentanyl and heroin. These illicit brands than compete with one another on the basis of potency and other factors, as their addicted customers pay the price financially and with their lives.

apache fentanyl street name showing icon symbol for Apache chief
china girl fentanyl street name showing icon symbol of Chinese letters
chinatown fentanyl street name showing icon symbol of Chinese temple
china white fentanyl street name showing icon symbol of panda bear
dance fever fentanyl street name showing icon symbol of disco strobe ball
goodfellas fentanyl street name showing icon symbol of gangster looking man
great bear fentanyl street name showing icon symbol of grizzly bear
he-man fentanyl street name showing icon symbol of bodybuilder flexing his muscles
poison fentanyl street name showing icon symbol of black widow spider
tango & cash fentanyl street name showing icon symbol of man and woman dancing together

Fentanyl produces powerful pain relief and euphoria. Because of its rapid onset and short duration, fentanyl must be used frequently to continue the “high” and ward off withdrawal. Also, because fentanyl is less expensive to manufacture than heroin, it is quickly becoming a “normal” additive or replacement for heroin in many areas. This makes an extremely dangerous drug readily available, completely outside of medical supervision.

The Heroin Connection

In fact, the primary reason that so many people require fentanyl addiction treatment is now due to its use as a potency-enhancer for heroin sold on the streets of the US. Most of the illegal fentanyl used in this way is produced in China, exported to Mexico, and exported to the U.S. across the border via clandestine routes. After being manufactured, fentanyl is often converted into a powder form which can be snorted, or reconstituted for injection. Because street fentanyl is illegally manufactured, there are no controls or oversight on its production. Impurities and an unknown strength is typically the end result of this process. For this reason, and because fentanyl is so powerful, overdoses are quite common with fentanyl.

Global Sources of Illicit Fentanyl

illustration of a map of China and the different trade routes they use to export illegal fentanyl into the U.S.

1 Fentanlys in powder form and pill presses are shipped via mail services
2 The powder fentanyls are processed and mixed with heroin, or sold as heroin, or pressed into pills and sold in the Canadian drug market
2a Some fentanyl products are smuggled from Canada into the United States for sale, on a smaller scale
3 The powder fentanyls are processed and mixed with heroin, or sold as heroin, or pressed into pills and sold in the United States drug market
4 The powder fentanyls are cut and diluted for further smuggling, or pressed into counterfeit prescription pills
4a Diluted powder fentanyls and counterfeit prescription pills containing fentanyl are smuggled from Mexico into the United States
5 Precursors for manufacturing fentanyls are shipped via mail services
6 Precursors are used to manufacture fentanyls in clandestine laboratories
7 Precursors are likely smuggled across the Southwest border into Mexico to manufacture fentanyls
8 Precursors are likely used to manufacture fentanyls is clandestine laboratories

The Fentanyl Public Health Crisis

In past decades, fentanyl addiction was primarily limited to anesthesiologists, surgeons, and other practitioners with access to this drug. But, in recent years it has flooded the streets in the U.S. Sometimes, addicts believe they are buying heroin and find themselves in an overdose situation because the drug was either fentanyl, or fentanyl cut into heroin, rather than simply heroin as expected. Fentanyl use and addiction, in fact, has become a national health crisis, making fentanyl addiction treatment a public health priority in many communities across the US.

Even Police Are At-Risk

A recent fentanyl-related incident in Hartford, CT highlights the extreme toxicity of fentanyl and the dangers it poses, not only to fentanyl abusers, but also to the law enforcement professionals trying desperately to stem the tide of fentanyl distribution. During a drug raid on a Hartford apartment, two detectives came in contact with fentanyl when it was tossed into a window by suspects attempting to get rid of the evidence of a crime, causing the packaging around it to burst and sending fentanyl powder into the air. The officers became nauseous and lightheaded, and hazmat teams were quickly dispatched to the building, which was evacuated as a precaution. The officers involved had to be sent to nearby hospital for treatment, and residents of the six-unit apartment building were ordered to stay out through the day as firefighters, clad in thick gray suits and masks, decontaminated the scene. Unfortunately, this type of event is becoming an increasingly common danger for law enforcement officers in the course of their duties as fentanyl becomes more widespread, exposing countless individuals to this extremely toxic substance.

“This is an everyday occurrence … our officers can be potentially exposed to it. We have to be really careful when we deal with this kind of issue, we are going to err on the side of safety.”

– Hartford, CT Police Chief David Rosado


Fentanyl Addiction Treatment Only Starts With Detox

Fentanyl addiction is commonly treated first by opiate detox, which is then followed with a drug rehab component of fentanyl addiction treatment. Simply, removing the drug from the body is not considered effective treatment, as addicts will quickly return to their old behaviors after detox without further treatment. To maintain sobriety, new life skills, including stress management and emotional regulation must be learned. In fact, addiction is a family disease, so the entire social circle and support system must be evaluated and treated. Changes in relationships with people, places, and things will also need to be made. A qualified drug and alcohol treatment center will guide you through this period of growth and renewal.

Preventing Relapse After Fentanyl Addiction Treatment

Fentanyl withdrawal can be expected to have a quick and intense onset. For this reason, it is important to find a treatment center with immediate availability that can handle your drug detox needs. Medical stabilization and psychiatric evaluation are all part of the initial process. Case management services are critical to ensure that all problem areas of one’s life are addressed and continuity of care is maintained after leaving treatment. This is critical to ensure that mental health issues or environmental triggers do not cause the recovering addict to relapse after treatment.

Start Fentanyl Addiction Treatment Before It’s Too Late

If you or a loved one has a Fentanyl addiction, each day it remains untreated can have a potentially deadly result. But, Fentanyl addiction treatment can stop this deadly plague, one addict at a time. Call BWR 24/7 at 800-683-4457 before this dangerous drug claims another victim.


Behavioral Wellness & Recovery is a Joint Commission accredited program. The Joint Commission recognizes excellence in health care organizations and programs.


Behavioral Wellness & Recovery is a Joint Commission accredited program. The Joint Commission recognizes excellence in health care organizations and programs.

Your decision to regain your life helps and heals your entire family. Do it for them. Do it for you.


1301 Wrights Lane East, Ste. 103
West Chester, PA 19380
Serving Philadelphia, PA, Lancaster, PA and Wilmington, DE