What is the Difference Between Fentanyl and Carfentanil?

What is the Difference Between Fentanyl and Carfentanil?

Although carfentanil and fentanyl sound alike, they are not the same drug. Fentanyl is a very potent drug, more dangerous than morphine, and highly addictive. Carfentanil is 100 times stronger than fentanyl, with minimal contact running the risk of being lethal. Learn more about these two potentially lethal drugs and how to understand their differences better.


Fentanyl is classed as an opioid used for pain relief. It is often used with other medication for people undergoing surgery who need anesthesia. Fentanyl is used to manage chronic pain for those who suffer from the effects of cancer or have major surgery. There are many side effects of overusing fentanyl, which may include respiratory distress along with addiction. Prescription drugs are abused today at higher levels than ever before, with the risk of fentanyl being lethal in much smaller doses than most other opioids. There is also the risk it may be cut into other drugs unknowingly so a person can overdose on that without realizing it was in what they were using.


Carfentanyl, or carfentanil, is similar in chemical structure to fentanyl but has some major differences. Carfentanil was first developed as a tranquilizer for large animals, including rhinos. The drug was legal in China where companies sold and exported the drug. It is a controlled substance in China and continues to be a challenge for people around the world. It is thousands of times more potent than heroin and looks a bit like table salt. Just a small amount of carfentanil (2 mg) hidden inside heroin can kill tens of thousands of people. Illegal manufacturing and cutting into other drug supplies is creating an opioid epidemic and causing deaths for people who overdose.

Risk of Fentanyl and Carfentanil

The risk of accidental overdose increases when the drugs are mixed with other things like heroin, cocaine, or even alcohol. Prince, the musician, died of a fentanyl overdose accidentally. Medication with fentanyl can take a person’s life, as it did with musician Tom Petty, in 2018. There are thousands of others who are dying from overdosing on the drug. It is lethal and dangerous to take. For people who become addicted, they will need specialized treatment to help navigate the challenges of recovery. It takes time to recover from detox, then receive treatment to support long-term recovery. There is hope and healing on the other side of addiction for people who reach out and ask for help. It starts with asking for help for addiction and getting the right support from the right professionals who can get you on the track to establishing a life that is drug and alcohol free.

Oceanfront can help you navigate recovery from drugs and alcohol with our drug treatment program. We provide support and specialized, individual programs to help you heal from addiction. k We are located in beautiful Laguna Beach. Call us to find out how we can help you navigate addiction recovery: 877-279-1777