Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin. It is short acting and cannot be seen, tasted or smelled when mixed into other drugs.
While pharmaceutical fentanyl is prescribed for severe pain and end of life care, non-pharmaceutical fentanyl is produced illicitly and is now common in the illicit drug supply. The presence of non-pharmaceutical fentanyl in New York City has dramatically increased the number of overdose deaths, and fentanyl is now the most common drug involved in overdose deaths. In 2020, 1,580 New Yorkers died from a fentanyl-involved overdose.
Fentanyl use can increase your risk of overdose, especially if you do not regularly use opioids. Anyone who uses drugs that may contain fentanyl, even occasionally, may be at risk of overdose.
Fentanyl has been found in many different drugs, including heroin, cocaine, crack, methamphetamine and ketamine. It can also be found in pills from nonmedical sources, pressed into counterfeit pills to look like prescription painkillers or benzodiazepines, such as Xanax® Klonopin®, and Valium®.
Reduce your risk of overdose:
If you would like to talk to someone about substance use services or treatment, contact NYC Well.
Fentanyl test strips are an easy-to-use tool that can detect fentanyl in a variety of drugs. Learn how to use them with these instructions:
If you need fentanyl test strips for personal use, you can find a list of community organizations that provide them at no cost below. You can also find test strips at some of the Opioid Overdose Prevention Programs on this list.