What Does Fentanyl Look, Taste, and Smell Like? by Rehab Recovery Centers

Fentanyl is an extremely dangerous synthetic opioid drug. While it was created in the late 1950s, the abuse of this drug did not begin until the 1980s. Even then, fentanyl was still relatively unheard of.

However, in the past few years, fentanyl abuse has risen substantially. Fentanyl is largely to blame for the rise in the opioid-related deaths we have seen in the past several years of the opioid crisis. This is because fentanyl is an extremely potent substance.

According to research, one kilogram of fentanyl contains 250,000 lethal doses. Between 2013 to 2015, the DEA confiscated 239 kilograms of fentanyl, which contains 59.75 million lethal doses.[1]

For an individual without tolerance to opioids, 700 micrograms (0.007 grams) of fentanyl would be enough to cause a fatal overdose. Unfortunately, most people who consume fentanyl do so accidentally. This happens because criminal drug manufacturers are cutting various drugs with fentanyl to make a larger profit.

Because accidental fentanyl overdoses are becoming more prevalent, it is important for you to know what fentanyl looks like, tastes like, and smells like.


What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is typically used in hospital settings to treat chronic and severe pain. This drug is usually only given to patients with terminal illnesses or to patients who are resistant to less potent opioid pain medications. Because of its potency, it may also be used as part of anesthesia for operative surgeries.

Fentanyl is up to 100 times stronger than morphine. Because of this, the prescribing guidelines are strict. Unfortunately, fentanyl has made its way into the illegal drug trade – where there are no prescribing guidelines.

Most of the time, fentanyl is not sold as fentanyl. Because the drug is so potent, even most drug users avoid taking the substance. Instead, drug dealers and manufacturers are using the substance as a cutting agent to stretch out their products and generate more income.

Fentanyl was largely being found in heroin, however, the fentanyl crisis has begun to widen. Recently, there have been reports of drugs like Xanax, other fake prescription pills, and even cocaine containing fentanyl.

Because of this, individuals must know how to identify whether their drugs contain fentanyl.

What Does Fentanyl Look Like?

Fentanyl is typically in powder form. The color of fentanyl typically varies from different levels of white to light brown. Because of this, identifying fentanyl by sight can be extremely difficult.

When fentanyl is on its own, it is most likely a white or off-white color. When it is mixed in with other powdered drugs, it may cause the drugs to have a brown or tannish tint.

Because there is no one way that fentanyl looks, it is important not to rely on sight when inspecting your drugs for fentanyl.

How Does Fentanyl Smell?

While heroin can have an acidic and sour smell, fentanyl tends to be odorless. Unfortunately, this makes fentanyl difficult to identify. Additionally, smelling your drugs to check for fentanyl is a bad idea, as you could accidentally inhale some of the powder.

What Does Fentanyl Taste Like?

Some people claim that fentanyl tastes sweet, but there is no evidence to prove this. The fact is, fentanyl can taste very different depending on the batch of fentanyl and what drugs it is mixed with. Oftentimes, fentanyl doesn’t taste like anything.

Tasting your drugs to check for fentanyl is a bad idea either way. If the drug does contain lethal amounts of fentanyl, this could lead to an overdose. Even if it doesn’t cause an overdose, there is no way to be sure that fentanyl is not present with a taste test.

Preventing Fentanyl Overdose

The only surefire way to make sure that your drugs are not laced with fentanyl is to use fentanyl testing strips. Additionally, if you are abusing heroin or another opioid that could contain fentanyl, it is important to keep naloxone close by.

Let’s discuss how to use testing strips and naloxone to prevent accidental fentanyl overdoses.

Testing Strips

Fentanyl testing strips are usually easy to obtain. If your city has a needle exchange program or a harm reduction site, you can usually find fentanyl testing strips there. If not, there are plenty of ways to access them online.

To use fentanyl testing strips, you must dissolve a small amount of the substance in water. Next, you will take the testing strip and hold it in the solution for 15 seconds. Once this is done, you should be able to check the results and find out if there is fentanyl present in your drugs.

Naloxone (Narcan)

Whether your drugs contain fentanyl or not, naloxone is an important tool to have if you are suffering from drug addiction.

To explain, naloxone is an opioid overdose reversal medication. There are two different types of naloxone; nasal spray and injection. Typically, the naloxone nasal spray is the type of Narcan given to citizens for harm reduction purposes.

Naloxone nasal spray is used by spraying it into the nostrils of an individual who is experiencing an opioid overdose. This will stop the effects of the overdose, possibly saving the person’s life.

If you or someone you know begins overdosing on an opioid drug, having naloxone nearby could prevent a fatal overdose from occurring.

Finding Help for Opioid Addiction

If you or someone you love suffers from opioid addiction, it’s time to seek professional help. The opioid crisis is only getting worse, especially with the rise of fentanyl-laced drugs circulating on streets across America. Thankfully, Rehab Recovery Centers is here to help.

For help with finding a reputable opioid addiction treatment center near you, contact Rehab Recovery Centers today. We can find a rehab program suited to you or your loved one’s unique needs.


  1. https://drugabusestatistics.org/fentanyl-abuse-statistics/

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