Fentanyl Addiction Symptoms, Signs & Side Effects

Ohio knows all too well what the opioid epidemic is doing to the lives of individuals and families. This is happening all over the country, and the state of Ohio has been hit hard as well. One of the drugs that has contributed to this crisis so much is fentanyl. Since the popularity of fentanyl has risen, deaths from overdoses of this drug have also increased all throughout the country.

Fentanyl is lesser known than a drug like heroin or oxycodone. Fentanyl is one of the strongest opiates that is currently available. It is used for the most severe pain in cancer patients as well as in patients who have just had surgery. It has extremely dangerous side effects, and it is very addictive.

Fentanyl Addiction in Ohio | Fentanyl Symptoms & Side Effects

Fentanyl Addiction Symptoms

Fentanyl is a Schedule II prescription drug. It does have some medical benefits, but even if you are taking the drug only as prescribed by a physician, there are still side effects you may want to be aware of. Some of the most typical side effects are:

  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Sweating
  • Feeling cold
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia and sleep disturbances
  • Gastrointestinal problems like constipation

Less common side effects of fentanyl are confusion, anxiety, tingling, depression and hallucinations. Other potential side effects particularly associated with the fentanyl patch are urinary problems, fluid retention and a slow heart rate. The fentanyl patch can also cause skin irritation as well as itching wherever the patch is applied to the skin.

Fentanyl Addiction Signs

If you suspect someone you love is illicitly using fentanyl, it can be very scary. It’s good to understand what the signs of fentanyl use are so you will know what to look for. Although these symptoms can be present with those who are taking fentanyl with a prescription. Some of the signs of fentanyl use may include:

  • Anyone who is taking fentanyl – particularly if they are abusing it or taking it in much higher dosages that usual – will seem euphoric as they first start to take fentanyl. Then they will seem drowsy, confused and depressed as the high feeling wears off.
  • Slurred speech, drowsiness and a sense of confusion are all common with fentanyl use.
  • Weakness as well as coordination and walking problems are often experienced by those who are using fentanyl.
  • Fainting, slowed breathing and pinpoint pupils may be signs of fentanyl use.

Other possible symptoms of fentanyl use include appetite loss, dry mouth, hallucinations as well as sleep problems.

Fentanyl Abuse Side Effects

It can be difficult to distinguish fentanyl use from fentanyl abuse. When someone is abusing fentanyl, they will show many of the same signs as people who are using fentanyl as prescribed. The main difference is that the symptoms and signs tend to be more obvious as people who are abusing fentanyl tend to take more of the drug.

There are different things to look out for when you are trying to detect fentanyl abuse. Some of these things include:

  • Doctor shopping to attempt to get multiple prescriptions
  • Lying about or hiding use of the substance
  • Loss of interest in activities that used to interest the person
  • Taking fentanyl in different ways than it is meant to be taken such as injecting gel from fentanyl patches or chewing fentanyl patches
  • Financial or legal troubles

Signs of a Fentanyl Overdose

If you suspect someone you love may be abusing fentanyl, you need to know the signs of a potential fentanyl overdose. These signs include:

  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Breathing problems – slowed or irregular breathing
  • Nodding off
  • Blue tinted fingernails or skin
  • Loss of consciousness

The signs of a fentanyl patch overdose are the same as any other kind of fentanyl overdose. If you suspect someone has overdosed on fentanyl, it’s important that you get help as soon as possible.

If you or someone you love is abusing fentanyl, it’s critical that you get professional help. Seeking treatment at a treatment facility like The Recovery Village Columbus may seem overwhelming and scary, but there is a real risk of overdose and death if you keep using fentanyl. Take back control of your life and seek the treatment that you deserve.


  • NIDA. “Ohio: Opioid-Involved Deaths and Related Harms.” National Institute on Drug Abuse. April 3, 2020 Accessed April 22, 2021.
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Opioid Summaries by State.” April 16, 2020. Accessed on April 22, 2021.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Fentanyl.” February 16, 2021. Accessed on April 22, 2021.
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Fentanyl.” 2021. Accessed on April 22, 2021.
  • Medlineplus.gov. “Fentanyl.” National Institutes of Health, January 15, 2021. Accessed on April 22, 2021.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village Columbus aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.