Fentanyl and heroin are both drugs within the opioid category. Heroin comes from the poppy plant while fentanyl is created in a lab using a synthetic opioid. They both have a similar effect on the body, including pain reduction and a feeling of being high. Fentanyl may be prescribed to treat pain after a surgery, illness, or during treatment, such as chemotherapy.
But there are major differences between the two drugs. Some people believe they’re getting fentanyl when in fact they’re buying heroin. This may happen when buying drugs off unauthorized websites or from someone “on the street”, such as a dealer, a friend, or even a family member.
It’s important to know the differences between fentanyl and heroin, as when they’re in powder form, they look similar.
Fentanyl vs heroin
Fentanyl is not made in powder form
Legally made fentanyl is not a powder. Fentanyl that’s been approved by the government comes in different forms, including nasal sprays, patches, pills, lollipops, and injectable liquid. Sometimes these variations of fentanyl are misused and transformed into different forms for snorting or smoking.
Heroin is illegal
No amount of heroin is legal. It’s considered a street drug and being caught with it could land someone in jail. Fentanyl, on the other hand, is legal, but it requires a doctor’s prescription. However, being caught with fentanyl without a prescription is also a crime.
Fentanyl is more potent than heroin
Fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin. It’s a powerful drug that immediately affects the body. Although fentanyl and heroin have similar effects on the brain and body, fentanyl has a slightly different chemical structure.
Heroin is not regulated by the U.S. government
Because heroin is an illegal street drug, it’s not regulated by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). That means no amount is safe to use, even if a doctor or healthcare professional tells you it’s OK to do so. This is also why heroin is especially dangerous.
Fentanyl is a legal drug in the U.S. that’s regulated by the FDA, which means there are guidelines for how to safely use it.
Fentanyl is made using synthetic opioids
Fentanyl was created in a lab 1959. Originally, it was developed as an anesthetic for heart surgery patients and then later introduced as a pain reliever for severe pain management.
Synthetic opioids have the same effects as naturally derived opioids, such as heroin.
Treatment for heroin and fentanyl addiction at Skyward Treatment Center
While fentanyl and heroin have their differences, they’re both addictive and a leading cause of overdose and even death among drug users. Skyward Treatment Center helps people overcome prescription drug abuse and heroin addiction in a compassionate environment.
Our addiction treatment team is available 24/7 and ready to help you or a loved one become sober and start living a healthy life again. To learn about our treatment options, call 713-815-4471 or complete our online form.