fentanyl identification

If you knew something might contain fentanyl, could you recognize it?

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid, and it’s the leading cause of death among young adults. Its use has continued to grow year after year, and fentanyl remains a health concern for many communities.

At San Antonio Recovery Center, we’ve witnessed firsthand the impact fentanyl use has on individuals, families, and our community. We have the largest and most successful group of alumni in San Antonio, and work tirelessly to keep them connected, on track, and educated.

This article covers both prescription and illicit fentanyl, helping you safely identify this dangerous substance. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that understanding how to identify fentanyl can save your life – or the life of someone you love.

How to Identify Fentanyl

If you encounter a substance that you suspect might be fentanyl, it’s important to proceed with caution. Fentanyl is toxic at incredibly low doses, so smelling or tasting small amounts can be fatal. Even then, Fentanyl is generally odorless and tasteless. This means that understanding what fentanyl looks like is key to safely identifying the substance.

Powdered fentanyl will have a white color, and is often mixed with heroin, cocaine, or meth. In its liquid form, fentanyl is added to nasal sprays, eye drops, or soaked in paper tablets. Fentanyl in pills is often made to resemble common prescription drugs, particularly other opioids. It can be impossible to tell the difference between a fentanyl pill or its prescription counterpart, so be sure to only take prescription medication from licensed professionals.

If you find fentanyl in your loved one’s possession, it is critical to address it with them, potentially seeking professional assistance and help. Fentanyl can be an incredibly dangerous substance, and is the cause of nearly half of all overdoses in Texas each year.

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Different Types of Fentanyl

Fentanyl exists in a variety of shapes, both prescription and illicit. These range from common brands, to well-known street names. Note that there are too many variations for this article to cover them all. Taking any substance that hasn’t been prescribed by a medical professional is dangerous. If you don’t know what something is, don’t take it.

Prescription Forms of Fentanyl

Legal fentanyl is often prescribed to treat severe pain, typically for cancer patients or due to surgery. This can come in the shape of oral “lollipops”, nasal sprays, skin patches, or injections.. Importantly, virtually no prescription of fentanyl will come in pill form, as doctors use methods that better control dosage.

Illicit Forms of Fentanyl



Delivery Method

Prescription Sublimaze Injection
Prescription Duragesic or Ionsys Transdermal Skin Patches
Prescription Lazanda Nasal Spray
Illicit Fent, Fenty, China White, or Snowflake Powder, pill, or liquid
Illicit Facebook or Birria Pill or Injection
Illicit Dirty Fentanyl or Takeover Powder

Illicitly manufactured fentanyl typically will come as either pill, liquid, or powder. Powdered fentanyl may be mixed in (or laced) with other drugs such as heroin or cocaine.

san antonio recovery center fentanyl identification

Treatment for Fentanyl Addiction in San Antonio, Texas

If you or someone you love is taking fentanyl, it might be time to seek professional assistance. Fentanyl can have serious health consequences, and even small amounts can be fatal. A good fentanyl addiction treatment program will help with every step of the recovery process by providing medical detox and therapies while strengthening the underlying skills of a life in recovery.

At San Antonio Recovery Center, we’re here to help. Not only for initial treatment, but for the entire journey. If you’d like to learn more about our programs, call us today at 866-957-7885. We’re proud of our 8-to-1 client-to-therapist ratio because we know it gives you and your loved ones the hands-on attention you need.

Strength. Acceptance. Recovery. Community.

Frequently Asked Questions

What equipment is used to detect fentanyl?

One of the most common methods is to use testing strips – mixing the substance with water and soaking the strip to get a quick result. Other methods, though less common, include electrochemical sensors, lab testing, and detection with specially trained dogs.

What should you do if exposed to fentanyl?

Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose to prevent any absorption into the body. Wash your hands carefully, and limit further exposures by keeping others out of the area. If you begin to experience any symptoms, seek immediate medical attention, informing first responders of the exposure.

How dangerous is fentanyl?

Fentanyl is an incredibly potent opioid. It is 50x stronger than heroin, and 100x more potent than morphine. Only a few grams can be fatal. Any exposure or use of fentanyl should be handled with extreme caution and care.

Now is the time to focus on your recovery.


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