Can You Smoke Fentanyl? The Dangers of Smoking and Snorting Fentanyl

Fentanyl, as noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is an opioid medication known for its exceptional potency. It surpasses morphine’s strength by up to 100 times and exceeds the potency of other opioids. This heightened potency, while beneficial in medical settings for managing severe pain, also poses significant risks when misused or abused.


Initially, fentanyl was developed as a synthetic opioid designed to reduce severe pain resulting from accidents or surgical procedures. Its exceptional effectiveness in pain relief is due to its potency, requiring smaller doses than other painkillers. Fentanyl’s potency, being up to 100 times stronger than morphine, makes it a preferred option for managing intense pain in patients. However, this heightened potency contributes to the heightened risk of overdose when individuals seek to replicate the drug’s effects, making fentanyl one of the most dangerous substances to overdose on.

When drugs like heroin or cocaine are mixed with fentanyl, they become much more potent. Drug users could accidentally take too much fentanyl, which would lead to a rise in overdose deaths across the country. Taking fentanyl without a prescription is very dangerous, and smoking or inhaling it may make these risks even higher. if you’re still wondering if can you smoke fentanyl, keep reading.

If you or someone you know is suffering from Fentanyl addiction, the We Level Up Treatment Centers can help. Speak with our hotline specialists and discover the support and professional-accredited addiction treatment programs we offer.


What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid analgesic, boasts a potency 50 times greater than heroin and a striking 100 times more powerful than morphine. This drug serves medical purposes to heighten sedation during surgical procedures, manage moderate to severe pain pre- and post-operation, and alleviate distress in patients grappling with terminal illnesses. Acknowledging its lawful medical utility, the DEA categorizes it as a Schedule II drug.

In its prescribed, legitimate form, fentanyl goes by names such as:

  • Actiq.
  • Duragesic.
  • Sublimaze.

While on the illicit market, it’s identified by street names like:

  • Apache.
  • China Girl.
  • China White.
  • Dance Fever.
  • Friend.
  • Goodfellas.
  • Jackpot.
  • Murder 8.
  • TNT.
  • Tango.
  • Cash.

The calming effects, euphoria, and pain relief potential of fentanyl contribute to its highly addictive nature, compelling even individuals with no previous history of substance use or dependence.

Why is Smoking Fentanyl so Dangerous?

In 2021, an estimated 77% of overdose deaths in the United States involved fentanyl.

Even the tiniest amount of fentanyl, just two milligrams, can dramatically slow down or completely halt your breathing. Insufficient oxygen reaching the brain can result in coma, permanent brain damage, and, ultimately, death.

A barely visible speck of fentanyl is potent enough to be fatal. Dealers are increasingly using larger quantities of this synthetic opioid to dilute their drugs. This lethal mixture has led to fentanyl overdoses becoming the leading cause of death among American adults aged 18 to 45, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).

What Are the Dangers of Smoking Fentanyl?

Inhaling or smoking fentanyl poses significant risks, primarily due to the accelerated onset of its effects and the heightened intensity of the high, akin to snorting the drug. This method allows the substance to reach the bloodstream and the brain rapidly, intensifying the immediate euphoric sensations experienced by the user.

However, smoking fentanyl has its dangers. One of the most pressing concerns is the challenge of controlling the dosage. Because smoking fentanyl involves inhaling the substance, it becomes challenging to measure and regulate the amount consumed accurately. This lack of control over the dose significantly amplifies the risk of overdose, as even a slight miscalculation can lead to dangerous, potentially life-threatening consequences.

Moreover, smoking fentanyl carries a direct threat to lung health. The practice of inhaling fentanyl poses a risk of lung damage and toxicity. The drug’s direct exposure to lung tissues during inhalation can contribute to respiratory issues, lung irritation, and potentially severe lung damage over time. These risks make smoking fentanyl an unsafe method of ingestion, further accentuating the potential health hazards associated with its use.

Short-Term Effects of Smoking Fentanyl

Immediate and profound effects may be experienced by individuals using fentanyl, whether intentionally or accidentally. Common short-term physical effects of fentanyl include:

  • Intense euphoria: Fentanyl triggers a rapid feeling of pleasure and relaxation.
  • Sedation: Fentanyl may induce extreme drowsiness or sedation, affecting normal functioning.
  • Respiratory depression: Its impact on breathing can cause slowed or shallow breathing, leading to decreased oxygen supply and potentially respiratory failure.
  • Nausea and vomiting: Fentanyl use can result in discomfort and potential dehydration due to nausea and vomiting.
  • Confusion and disorientation: Fentanyl might cause confusion, disorientation, and impaired cognitive function, hindering clear thinking or sound judgment.

Long-Term Effects of Smoking Fentanyl

Continued fentanyl use can severely impact both physical and mental health over time. Some long-term side effects include:

  • Tolerance and dependence: Prolonged fentanyl use may result in tolerance, requiring higher doses for the same effect. This can lead to dependence, where quitting or reducing usage causes withdrawal symptoms.
  • Addiction: Fentanyl’s strong euphoric effects can trigger compulsive drug-seeking behavior, creating a challenging cycle of addiction, both physically and psychologically.
  • Organ damage: Fentanyl abuse can harm vital organs, particularly the liver, kidneys, and heart. Reduced oxygen due to respiratory issues can also damage various body systems.
  • Mental health disorders: Fentanyl use raises the risk of developing mental health issues like anxiety and depression by disrupting brain chemistry and impacting neurotransmitters’ natural balance.

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The primary reason why fentanyl overdose is so deadly is because the substance significantly reduces the respiratory system's ability to breathe.
The primary reason why fentanyl overdose is so deadly is because the substance significantly reduces the respiratory system’s ability to breathe.

How Fentanyl Abuse Begins

Understanding the typical paths to fentanyl addiction is crucial for recognizing warning signs in yourself or a loved one, mainly if the opioid is prescribed. Often, the stories of painkiller addiction originate from legitimate prescriptions. Even when taken as directed, prolonged exposure to fentanyl alters brain function, leading to dependence on the drug for normal functioning.

Fentanyl changes the brain’s natural production of euphoria-inducing chemicals like dopamine. Acting as a substitute for dopamine, fentanyl causes the brain to reduce its production since the drug takes over. When fentanyl use stops, the central nervous system struggles to generate dopamine, making it challenging to experience pleasure until the body thoroughly detoxifies from the drug.

Breaking the brain’s reliance on substances like drugs or alcohol involves a period of withdrawal symptoms during the healing process. Withdrawal symptoms encompass both physical and psychological effects, making it challenging to manage alone. In severe abuse cases, attempting detox without medical assistance can even be life-threatening due to intensified withdrawal symptoms. Seeking medical detox from a reputable treatment center is strongly recommended.

Symptoms of Fentanyl Overdose

  • Profound drowsiness, lethargy, lightheadedness, or dizziness.
  • Severe challenges with balance, walking, and reduced motor coordination.
  • Reports of nausea and vomiting.
  • Substantial mental state alterations include slurred speech, slowed thought processes (observed through prolonged speech), confusion, irrational behavior, and aggression.
  • Pinpoint pupils, bluish or purplish lips, hands, feet, fingernails, and toenails.
  • Noticeable slow or shallow breathing, potentially leading to the cessation of breathing or gurgling sounds.
  • Significant drop in blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Loss of consciousness or entering a comatose state.

The lethal effects resulting from a fentanyl overdose primarily occur due to the drug’s substantial suppression of the respiratory system, often leading to difficulty or complete cessation of breathing, caused by its central nervous system depressant effects.

How do People Smoke Fentanyl

For the most part, when people smoke fentanyl illegally, they heat the powdered drug on foil or some other heat-resistant surface. People vaporize the powdered substance after placing it on the foil using a lighter or other heat source. Fentanyl is inhaled by users through a tube, straw, or similar device as it transforms into a vapor. A common name for this technique is “chasing the dragon,” and it entails breathing in the fentanyl vapor that escapes from the heated foil.

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Even if you have failed previously and relapsed, or are in the middle of a difficult crisis, we stand ready to support you. Our trusted behavioral health specialists will not give up on you. When you feel ready or just want someone to speak to about therapy alternatives to change your life call us. Even if we cannot assist you, we will lead you to wherever you can get support. There is no obligation. Call our network hotline today.

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What to do if Someone Smoking Fentanyl Overdoses

  • Immediately contact medical emergency services (call 911).
  • Refrain from attempting CPR or giving medications unless adequately trained.
  • If the individual is breathing, place them on their side to prevent choking in case of vomiting.
  • Trained responders can position the person in the standard recovery stance, ensuring open airways.
  • Avoid giving any fluids; stay with the person and monitor their breathing until help arrives.
  • Naloxone (brand name: Narcan), if available and administered by trained individuals, can potentially save a person’s life. Naloxone functions as an opioid antagonist, binding to brain opioid receptors, displacing any opioids present, and triggering an immediate withdrawal response. Swift administration of naloxone can avert a potentially fatal situation.

How Long Does a Fentanyl High Last?

The period during which fentanyl exerts its effects and lingers within the body can vary significantly. Similar to heroin, fentanyl is classified as a short-acting opioid, resulting in effects that persist for a shorter duration compared to long-acting opioids such as methadone.

Duration of Effects:

  • Fentanyl’s effects range from 30 minutes to 3 days, contingent upon the dosage and method of administration.
  • Factors influencing its impact include the onset speed, intensity, duration, and presence in the body.

Method of Consumption:

  • The mode of drug intake significantly influences the effects and propensity for addiction.
  • Rapid ingestion methods like smoking or injection facilitate swift entry into the bloodstream and quick access to the brain.
  • Slower absorption occurs through mucous membranes in the mouth or nose, while ingestion requires passage through the digestive system.

Different Delivery Methods:

  • Injection: Effects from injected fentanyl may last 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Oral/Nasal Absorption: Transmucosal fentanyl can result in effects for 2 to 4 hours.
  • Skin Application: Transdermal fentanyl absorbed through the skin may persist for 72 hours.
Because of its tremendous potency, fentanyl is used by dealers to traffic smaller amounts while still achieving the desired pharmacological effects.
Because of its tremendous potency, fentanyl is used by dealers to traffic smaller amounts while still achieving the desired pharmacological effects.

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Fentanyl Abuse Statistics

Fentanyl abuse statistics show that fentanyl is a highly potent synthetic opioid significantly contributing to the opioid epidemic in the United States. In 2020, there were over 93,000 drug overdose deaths in the US, with fentanyl involved in over 60%. Fentanyl abuse has also increased in other countries, including Canada and the United Kingdom.


Synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, were involved in almost 73% of all opioid-related overdose deaths in 2019.

Source: CDC

Approximately 1.6 million people aged 12 or older misused prescription pain relievers like fentanyl for the first time in 2020.

Source: The National Survey on Drug Use and Health

Fentanyl seizures by law enforcement in the US increased by 57% from 2019 to 2020, with nearly 17,000 pounds of fentanyl seized in 2020.

Source: DEA


Fentanyl Addiction Treatment

As one of the leading options for drug rehab in the country, We Level Up Texas ensures comprehensive support for overcoming fentanyl addiction. Our team has successfully helped numerous individuals struggling with the effects of fentanyl, aiming to provide the necessary health information for addiction recovery and a positive life transformation.

Detoxification is often the initial step, especially considering the profound impact of fentanyl on the mind and body. Withdrawal symptoms, sometimes severe or life-threatening, may necessitate professional care, typically lasting around seven days. The most intense withdrawal symptoms usually occur within the first three days of detox. However, by the end of the week, individuals often start feeling more like themselves, allowing them to focus on their recovery journey.

Following detox, committing to an addiction treatment program becomes crucial. Choosing between inpatient and outpatient care is a significant decision. An inpatient treatment program might benefit those seeking a complete change in their environment and support system. Inpatient care involves residing at the treatment facility and having 24/7 access to a supportive treatment team. Being surrounded by others on similar recovery paths can offer substantial comfort and encouragement during this critical phase.

At We Level Up Texas, our team is dedicated to supporting you through fentanyl addiction recovery while also assisting in pain management and offering essential drug information to keep you focused on your recovery goals. If you’re prepared to address fentanyl use and eliminate it from your life for good, we urge you to reach out to us today. At We Level Up Texas, our team is dedicated to supporting you through fentanyl addiction recovery while also assisting in pain management and offering essential drug information to keep you focused on your recovery goals. If you’re prepared to address fentanyl use and eliminate it from your life for good, we urge you to reach out to us today.

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At We Level Up Treatment Center, our dedicated team of professionals is committed to guiding you through every step of your recovery journey. We prioritize your well-being and provide a nurturing environment conducive to healing and growth.

Take the first step towards recovery today. Contact us to begin your journey to a drug-free life. You don’t have to face addiction alone—we are here to help you reclaim control and achieve lasting sobriety.

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