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Drugs Explained


Fentanyl is an opioid

Opioids interact with opioid receptors in the brain and bring about a range of responses from feelings of pain relief to relaxation, pleasure and contentment.

Pharmaceutical fentanyl it is prescribed for chronic, severe cancer pain, nerve damage, back injury, major trauma and surgery in Australia. It is used for managing acute or chronic pain

Fentanyl is available in many forms

Fentanyl is about 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine.

Fentanyl Facts

Illicit fentanyl is manufactured for use in the illegal drug market.

Fentanyl is sometimes mixed with other drugs to increase its potency. Illicitly manufactured fentanyl can be a stand-alone product, as an additive to increase the potency of other illicit drugs such as heroin or sold as counterfeit medicines (such as oxycodone).

Other types of opioids:-

The Risk

There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug always carries risk. Fentanyl affects everyone differently, based on:

Its effects may include:


If the dose is too high, you might overdose. Call an ambulance straightaway by dialling triple zero (000) if you have any of these symptoms (ambulance officers do not have to involve the police):

If injecting drugs, there is an increased risk of:

If sharing needles, there is an increased risk of:

Effects of Fentanyl

The effects of taking fentanyl with other drugs – including over-the-counter or prescribed medications – can be unpredictable and dangerous.

Fentanyl + alcohol: adds to adverse effects and may increase the risk of respiratory depression.

Fentanyl + monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) antidepressants: may result in severe unpredictable reactions.

Fentanyl + benzodiazepines: may add to the sedative effects and diminished breathing.1

Giving up fentanyl after a long time is challenging because the body has to get used to functioning without it. Please seek advice from a health professional.

Withdrawal symptoms usually start within 12 hours after the last dose and can last for about a week. Days one to three will be the worst. Symptoms include:

Get Help

  • If your use of cocaine is affecting your health, family, relationships, work, school, financial or other life situations, you can find help and support.

    If symptoms are unmanageable call 000 or present at an Emergency Department.

The Law