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Fentanyl is a potent analgesic that is frequently prescribed by doctors to manage severe pain. Its potency surpasses that of morphine, and it can be detected through various drug screening tests like urine or hair follicle tests. When you're subject to employee drug tests or court-mandated drug testing, bear in mind that fentanyl might be among the substances screened for. To gain further insight into fentanyl abuse, including its duration of action and the factors that influence it, continue reading.

What is fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is used to treat severe pain. It is a powerful painkiller that is estimated to be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. The drug is typically prescribed to patients with chronic pain, such as cancer patients or those undergoing surgery.

Fentanyl works by binding to the brain's opioid receptors, producing a sense of euphoria and pain relief. It is available in several different forms, including patches, lozenges, injections, and nasal sprays.

How long fentanyl can stay in the system?

Fentanyl has a half-life of around 3-4 hours, which means that it takes this amount of time for half of the drug to be eliminated from the body.

It takes approximately 5-6 half-lives for the drug to be eliminated from the body. Therefore, it can take up to 24 hours or more for the drug to be cleared from your system entirely. However, in some cases, fentanyl can stay in the system for up to several days or even weeks, particularly in chronic users.

Detection time of fentanyl in drug screen

The detection period for fentanyl in the body, as well as the accuracy of drug screening, are both influenced by the mode of administration. On average, the following are the durations during which fentanyl may be detected:

Urine test: 24 and 72 hours

Hair follicle test: up to 90 days

Factors that impact the rate at which fentanyl exits the body

  • Dosage and frequency of use
  • Method of administration (e.g., oral, transdermal, injection, etc.)
  • Metabolism rate of the individual
  • Liver and kidney function
  • Age and weight of the person
  • Overall health status of the individual
  • Other medications or substances consumed along with fentanyl
  • Genetics

Fentanyl Overdose Deaths on the Rise

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fentanyl-related overdose deaths in the United States increased by nearly 47% in the previous year. Fentanyl is often mixed with other drugs, such as heroin or cocaine, to increase its potency, which can lead to a higher risk of overdose.

It is important to note that fentanyl is a Schedule II controlled substance, which means it has a high potential for abuse and addiction. Healthcare providers are required to closely monitor patients who are prescribed fentanyl and take precautions to prevent misuse and diversion.

If you are an employer concerned about maintaining a drug-free workplace in the era of excessive fentanyl abuse–goMDnow can help you with this. We provide a range of accurate, cost-effective, and rapid drug testing services that can help you identify and address fentanyl abuse at your workplace. With a vast network of over 20,000 locations throughout the United States, we are always within a short driving distance.