What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a potent opioid drug, originally synthesized and manufactured for its pain-killing properties and intended for controlled use in medical settings. Prescriptions for fentanyl are found under the names Duragesic, Actiq, and Sublimaze, among others. Fentanyl comes in different forms, most commonly as lozenges, lollipops, nasal or sublingual sprays, injections, patches, and tablets.

Due to its unprecedented addictiveness, fentanyl has become a key player in the American opioid crisis. Fentanyl is distinguished by its profile of extraordinary potency, which is estimated to be many times that of morphine, an opiate-based product that is also used in medical settings. Fentanyl is also, notably, much more concentrated in its effects, and therefore in its potential for lethal overdose than the street drug heroin.

Fentanyl has been a significant contributor to the runaway number of deaths by overdose in the United States.

What Is Fentanyl Used For?

Fentanyl was originally designed to be used for pain after surgery. It is commonly used to manage pain in patients with cancer. Fentanyl is not infrequently prescribed for people suffering from chronic pain.

Sometimes fentanyl is prescribed even when patients are known to have developed tolerance to opioids in another form.

How Strong Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is exceptionally strong, by far exceeding the potency of morphine, heroin, and other opioids associated with the opioid epidemic, such as OxyContin, Percoset, and Vicodin. The proverbial comparison shared by many sites discussing the topic of fentanyl is to say that Fentanyl is somewhere between 50-100% more potent than morphine.

Does Fentanyl Come In Pill Form?

Yes, there are tablet forms of prescription fentanyl. The pharmaceutical product Fentora is one such tablet, marketed as pain medication. Fentora is most commonly prescribed for what is called “breakthrough pain” – a strong flare-up that breaks through a pre-existing pain management strategy.

Fentora may also be used when cancer patients have lost sensitivity to the previous level of opioid intake, in other words when they have developed tolerance and are therefore experiencing pain despite a high intake of opioids already.

What Is Fentanyl Addiction Withdrawal?

Like all pain medications with addictive properties, fentanyl creates the condition of chemical dependence. This means both that the body comes to rely upon the fentanyl, requiring ever more levels to experience the same level of ease, and also that the body goes into withdrawal when the substance is stopped.

Fentanyl’s core mechanism is to bind to opioid receptors in the body. Opioid receptors are found in multiple places inside the body connected to the brain and nervous system, including the spinal cord, the brainstem, the thalamus, and the cortex. These are important centers in the body’s delicate systems of operation and are involved in the management of several key bodily functions.

These receptors are responsible for regulating physical pain and also manage our emotions and moods. Complex neurochemical interactions taking place at the cellular level, such as those connected to the release and reuptake of molecules of neurotransmitters and hormones, things like endorphins and dopamine, are intimately related to these receptors.

Therefore, many aspects of our experience are affected by fentanyl and suffer when the substance is cut off.

Typical fentanyl withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Intense physical pain
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Heart palpitations
  • Tremors
  • A strong sense of unease

As with all addictive substances, withdrawal symptoms make it difficult to quit fentanyl. This is more so the case for people who began using for chronic pain, as the pain will also be worse after cessation, due to depletion of endorphins and wiping out of the body’s ability to address its pain symptoms naturally.

Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline

Not all fentanyl is the same potency, as it is manufactured not only as a pharmaceutical product but also by illegal labs as a knock-off powder product, intended specifically for snorting and injection. For that reason, the length of time needed to withdraw fully from the substance may vary. Individual physiology and biological makeup also affect the length of time to completely withdraw.

The street version of fentanyl and other opioids leads to a swifter onset of withdrawal symptoms, appearing in less than one day after use. In the medical setting, where studies have been conducted, fentanyl withdrawals have been observed to kick in somewhere between 1 and 2 days.

Symptoms include the following:

  • Intense craving
  • Severe bodily pain
  • Heart palpitations
  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Despair

What Is a Fentanyl Detox?

fentanyl detox should be medically supervised.Fentanyl detox refers to a preferably medically-supervised detox process that clears the body of the presence of the opioid, along with toxins introduced and built up by the use of the drug.

For many reasons, fentanyl detox should not be undertaken alone outside of a medical setting. The strong cravings to use, intense emotional distress, and overwhelming physical pain that accompany fentanyl detoxification are greatly supported by the presence of medical and addiction professionals.

The risk during fentanyl detox is not only of a return to using, if not restrained from being able to do so, but also of extreme physiological responses representing a short-term threat to the body.

At the biological level alone, it may take up to seven days to purge the body of the chemical and is best done with the support of clinical personnel who can monitor the state of the body as it moves through different stages, through bloodwork and other means of tracking the course of the detox.

Fentanyl requires a tapering-off process and should not be quit cold turkey, or else extreme symptoms may ensue. To assist in the tapering process, medically-supervised detox settings may use drugs like methadone or naloxone.

Withdrawal symptoms will likely linger in milder form after the detox is completed, sometimes for months or years in a less acute and periodic form. Therefore it’s good to have a plan for the body to have the time it needs to fully repair and restore, with the help of many other forms of rehabilitation at all levels.

It is highly advised to also receive addiction treatment after detox, to protect against returning to the substance.

What Are Holistic Practices That Will Assist During a Fentanyl Detox?

There are many positive, alternative health-based behaviors and interventions which help people survive and mitigate the worst sides of the fentanyl detox experience.

Due to the mind-body interaction, interventions that support one to have more positive experiences in the mind, emotions, mood, and attitude have a big impact on the healing of the body.

Mindfulness-based practices like yoga and breathwork, as well as creative activities and groups help enormously to surround the fentanyl detox experience with as much ease and comfort as possible. These activities are all known to help regulate the body’s pathways of endorphins naturally, so that positive mood, stress tolerance, and natural pain-inhibition capacities are returned to the body as swiftly as possible.

Additionally, it is supremely relevant to address diet during fentanyl detox. Not only can diet assist with detoxification symptoms, it can help clear the toxin and its negative impacts on the body more quickly and effectively. The field of nutrition has uncovered many important truths about the role that fruits, vegetables, and minerals can have in helping us to detoxify the body from all manner of malignant substances and build-up. For example, whole grains, leafy greens, and the so-called “good fatty acids” are supportive during the detox process and recovery of mental health, in general.

It’s very important to have psychological support for getting off of fentanyl. It is highly recommended to receive addiction treatment, work with professionals, and participate in a recovery community like Narcotics Anonymous or AA.

Fentanyl use introduces many overwhelming feelings of anguish, despair, and severe anxiety – these can be survived, managed, and eventually disappeared from your experience through the support of contact with other human beings who will help you. Emotional release through talking and expressing yourself creatively are critical interventions in recovery. It is typically necessary to completely reconfigure the body, thought processes, emotional tendencies, habits, and ways of relating with others to stay off of fentanyl for good.

Villa Kali Ma Provides Fentanyl Addiction Treatment for Women

Villa Kali Ma Provides Fentanyl Addiction Treatment for Women.Villa Kali Ma is a healing place for women to recover from fentanyl addiction in a holistically-oriented setting. We offer medically-supervised detoxification followed by a structured treatment program that addresses all layers of addiction, mind body, and soul.

Our program takes you from your decision to get free of fentanyl to graduating with a viable plan for living well and abstinently. We promise to guide you through the stages of returning to your true healthy self so that you can live a life of meaning, joy, depth, and purpose once again.

We offer a combination of traditional Western medical, psychiatric, and psychotherapeutic models of treatment, with nontraditional, indigenous, and alternative healing modalities. For example, we provide individual psychotherapy, family therapy, and evidence-backed methodologies coached in groups that teach skills for managing stress and difficult emotions.

At the same time, we incorporate acupuncture, yoga, breathwork, and shamanistic journeying as a part of our treatment experience, following each woman’s choices. We’ll connect you with the healing powers of community, nature, massage, healthy diet and exercise, functional nutrition (natural medicine from plants, minerals, and other non-addictive substances), somatic therapies, creative therapies, and fun peer activities.

Villa Kali Ma Outpatient Treatment for Women

3790 Via De La Valle # 313
Del Mar, CA 92014

(760) 903-5758


Call Villa Kali Ma at (760) 350-3131 or contact us to learn about our Intensive Outpatient Program for women.


It was the best 30 days of my life.


Villa Kali Ma provides a holistic, supportive, therapeutic retreat for women to recover from trauma & substance disorders. The intensive and comprehensive approach provides a compassionate path of learning, awareness, and self-love for healing. I am grateful for the sacred space provided for my reflection, my mind-body-spirit work, and my opportunity to connect with other women in this process.


Villa Kali Ma changed my life in every single aspect. Not only did the experience help me get sober and stay sober for over a year now, but I was finally able to work on my past trauma in a safe and stable environment. Not a day goes by that I’m not using a healthy tool they taught me. I am forever grateful to the staff and strong women I spent my time with there. Truly the most profound life changing month of my life.





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Licensed by the State of California: Department of Health Care Services

Villa Kali Ma is an in-network provider with Anthem BCBS, Multiplan, First Health, Healthnet, and currently accepts most
PPO plans with out-of-network benefits. Call (760) 350-3131 for information on cost and payment options.