Substance Use

Can You Snort, Smoke or Inject Fentanyl?

fentanyl lines spoon needle

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Fentanyl Methods of Use

Fentanyl is one of the most dangerous drugs on the streets today. In fact, the synthetic opioid is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine and is responsible for more than 70,000 overdose deaths in the United States in 2021. You can smoke, snort, or inject fentanyl. Each method comes with its own unique risks. In this post, we’ll go over the dangers and side effects of fentanyl use and how you can get help today.

Are you or a loved one struggling to break free from the grips of a fentanyl addiction? Zinnia Healing can help. Learn about our substance abuse treatment process here.

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a strong prescription opioid that is both prescribed by healthcare professionals for pain management and is made and used illegally.

It was created to help patients with severe pain who have built up a tolerance to other painkillers and opioids.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, are the most common drugs involved in drug overdose deaths.

Side Effects of Fentanyl

The most common side effects of fentanyl are:

  • Pain relief
  • Euphoria
  • Confusion
  • Sedation
  • Stomach pain
  • Gas
  • Heartburn
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • A flushed face, neck, and/or upper chest
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Swollen hands, arms, feet, ankles, and/or lower legs
  • Constipation
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Respiratory depression
  • Unconsciousness

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor immediately:

  • Changes in heartbeat
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Fever
  • Shivering
  • Seizures
  • Hives
  • Rash
  • Itching

If you experience any of these symptoms, stop using fentanyl immediately and seek emergency medical care:

  • Slow, shallow breathing
  • Decreased urge to breathe
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Extreme dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Feeling extremely confused/disoriented

How Is Fentanyl Ingested?

Doctors often prescribe fentanyl in the form of a transdermal patch that is worn on the skin. The fentanyl that is made illegally in labs and has caused a recent uptick in overdose deaths is sold in the following forms:

  • Powder
  • Nasal spray
  • Pill

Some drug dealers mix fentanyl with other drugs, most commonly heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. Often, drug users are unaware that their drugs have fentanyl in them, which puts them at a high risk of a fentanyl overdose.

Injecting Fentanyl

Some doctors may prescribe an injectable form of fentanyl to manage extreme pain. This type can safely help patients manage pain under medical supervision and correct dosing. But, some drug users inject forms of fentanyl that are not intended for injection by removing the gel or liquid from fentanyl patches, melting it, and injecting it into their veins. The dangers of ingesting fentanyl this way include:

  • Permanent scarring at the injection site
  • HIV and Hepatitis C from sharing injection materials and needles
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Loss of coordination
  • Confusion
  • Coma

Snorting Fentanyl

A powder form of fentanyl is common on the black market. Some people choose to snort fentanyl in order to get a quick high. Other side effects users experience when snorting fentanyl include:

  • Sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Impaired vision
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleepiness
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Chest pain
  • Back pain
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations

Snorting fentanyl puts pressure on the nasal cavity, creating the following health risks:

  • Loss of smell
  • Nosebleeds
  • Frequent runny nose

Snorting fentanyl makes the high and effects of the drug much more intense than taking it orally. This method can overwhelm the brain and/or body, and the side effects can become life-threatening. For these reasons, you should never snort fentanyl.

Smoking Fentanyl

Some drug users remove the gel or liquid from prescription fentanyl patches, warm it up, and inhale the smoke. Smoking fentanyl is extremely dangerous because it’s nearly impossible to control the dose.

Common side effects of smoking fentanyl include:

  • Lung damage
  • Dental problems
  • “Nodding off,” or being in and out of consciousness
  • Dry mouth
  • Brain fog
  • Itchy skin
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Warm, flushed skin
  • Heavy legs and arms
  • Hormonal imbalances that lead to sexual dysfunction in men and irregular menstrual cycles in women

Signs of Fentanyl Overdose

If you or a friend or loved one start experiencing any of the following signs of a fentanyl overdose, call 911 immediately:

  • Small, constricted pupils
  • Losing consciousness/being unable to stay awake
  • Slow, weak, or stopped breathing
  • Choking
  • Limp body
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Discolored lips, nails, and other parts of the skin

Fentanyl Withdrawal

When people inject, smoke, or snort fentanyl, it’s very hard to control the dose, increasing your chances of overdose and dependency. When your body and brain become dependent on fentanyl, you will experience signs of withdrawal when you try to stop or cut back on using the drug. Symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Goosebumps
  • Chills
  • Runny nose
  • Suddenly feeling too hot and then too cold
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Body pain
  • Agitation

Because fentanyl is so addictive, withdrawal can take a long time and be extremely uncomfortable. Often, the symptoms of withdrawal are so harsh that people feel as if they have no other choice but to continue using fentanyl to counter them. This is why seeking help at an addiction treatment facility is so important. Addiction specialists will administer other medications that can help with pain management during fentanyl withdrawal, allowing the client to comfortably come off the drug and acclimate to life without using it, greatly increasing their chances of recovery.

To learn more about Zinnia Healing’s fentanyl addiction rehab programs, click here.

Zinnia Healing Can Help

If you’re struggling to overcome a fentanyl addiction, it’s important to know that help is available. At Zinnia Healing, our team of compassionate and caring addiction counselors is dedicated to giving our clients the treatment they need so they can get their lives back on track. We offer a customized approach to treatment at our facilities around the country. 

Call our helpline 24/7 at (855) 430-9439 to get started, or reach out to us online.

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