Category: Depressant

Also know as:



Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid. It can be taken on its own, but it has also been found in heroin and other illicit drugs like oxycodone and benzodiazepines. If a drug contains fentanyl, there is an increased risk of harm, overdose and death.

How it is taken

Most of the time, people aren’t aware that fentanyl has been mixed into the drug that they think they’re taking. This makes the drug even more dangerous and significantly increases the risk of overdose.

When not cut with other drugs, fentanyl can be:  

  • Snorted up the nose 
  • Smoked by heating on foil first – sometimes known as ‘chasing the dragon’
  • Injected* by dissolving in water first
  • Absorbed through the skin – usually via patches

If mixed into other substances, it may also be vaped or swallowed as tablets.

*Injecting is particularly dangerous and increases risks including infection with Blood Borne Viruses (BBVs) like Hepatitis C or HIV.


Fentanyl mimics the effects of opioids like heroin and can make you feel:

  • Happy
  • Relaxed
  • Euphoric
  • Sleepy
  • Nauseous 
  • Confused or disorientated
  • Dizzy 
  • Like you’re zoned out

Fentanyl can also slow down your heart rate and breathing, which can lead to coma and death.

When fentanyl is mixed with other drugs, the effects can be different and not what’s expected, which can increase the risk of harm. It can also magnify the effect of other substances, increasing the risk of overdose and death.


Fentanyl can:

  • Cause your body to develop a tolerance, which can lead to increased use and dependence.
  • Cause problems when you stop using or cut back. This is known as withdrawal and can make stopping challenging.

Using fentanyl frequently can cause:

  • Damage to veins at injection sites, which can lead to blood clots
  • Infections around injection sites, which can lead to sepsis
  • Increased risk of developing Blood Borne Viruses (BBVs), especially if using shared or dirty needles

How long the effects last depend on several factors, including your age, weight and metabolism, other drugs you have already taken, the purity of the drug, and the dose.

Generally speaking, when mixed with another drug, the effects start within a few minutes and can last for several hours. If injected, the effects are almost immediate.

Legal status

Fentanyl is a Class A drug, which means it’s illegal to be found carrying or using it. The legal term for this is possession. The maximum sentence for possession of a Class A drug is up to seven years in prison, a fine or both. 

It’s also illegal to give away or sell fentanyl. This is known as supply, and is a more serious offence than possession.  It can be considered supply if you give your friend some or share some with them, and this could get you time in prison, an unlimited fine or both.

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