What Is The Difference Between Heroin And Fentanyl?

Contact Us

The Difference Between Heroin And Fentanyl

Both Heroin and Fentanyl are in the same drug class, known as opioids. They both are potent, fast acting, and have the potential to be deadly in just one use. Heroin and Fentanyl bind to the opioid receptors in the brain to relieve pain and increase relaxation and euphoria. While the drugs are similar, it is important to understand the difference between heroin and fentanyl. They are not one in the same. This article reviews both the similarities and the difference between heroin and fentanyl.

What Is Heroin?

Heroin is a derivative of morphine, which is a naturally substance that is manufactured from poppy plant seeds. Heroin can come in a few different forms including powder or a back tacky substance. Heroin is an illegal drug in the United States and is not approved for medical use. Heroin can be snorted, injected, or smoked. If someone is in possession of or distributing  heroin then they usually are charged with a felony. The Drug Enforcement Administration classified it as a Schedule I controlled substance.

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, or man made drug. Fentanyl is an extremely strong drug, and the CDC reports it can be 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Therefore, it is considered stronger than pure heroin. This is due to one of the differences between heroin and fentanyl, the chemical structure.

Another difference between heroin and fentanyl is the fact that fentanyl is used medically. It is prescribed in individuals experiencing severe pain, chronic pain, or surgical procedures. Thus fentanyl is considered to be a schedule II substance. It is important to note that schedule II drugs still have a high risk of abuse and addiction.

Fentanyl is also still distributed and produced by the black market for illicit use. A difference between heroin and fentanyl is the cost. Fentanyl is normally cheaper than heroin. Furthermore, it is easier to obtain. Therefore, fentanyl is normally used to cut heroin or as an alternative. Fentanyl comes in a number of forms including liquid, powder, tablets, patches, and nasal sprays.

The Difference Between Heroin And Fentanyl

There are a number of differences between heroin and fentanyl. Just because they are in the same classification of drugs does not mean they are exactly alike. Some of the differences include:

  • Potency
  • Medical usage
  • Chemical structure
  • Morbidity rate
  • Manufacturing process
  • Forms of which they come in

Although the difference between heroin and fentanyl is notable, there are also many similarities between the two drugs. Both of the drugs have an extremely high risk of abuse and physical dependency.


Furthermore, if individuals become addicted to either one of the substances, then they normally require medical intervention. It is normally suggested that they enter into a drug rehab facility as soon as possible to begin the healing process.

Is There A Difference Between Heroin And Fentanyl Addiction?

Both fentanyl and heroin are proven to have a high risk of addiction. When taken they produce intense euphoric and pleasurable feelings. Furthermore, physical dependence can start to form very quickly. Once the body becomes accustomed to either drug, then it requires the drug to be in the person’s system in order to function. If the individual goes without the drug, then withdrawal symptoms will begin to occur.

Opiate withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Agitation
  • Nasua
  • Vomiting
  • Restless legs
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Hopelessness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Flu like symptoms
  • High blood pressure

Some people report that there is a difference between heroin and fentanyl addiction. It is not uncommon to hear that fentanyl withdrawal is more intense than heroin withdrawal. This could be due to the fact that fentanyl is more potent than heroin. Meaning, fentanyl may only need to be taken in small doses in order to feel the effects. Regardless, most people find that obtaining more of the drugs is more convenient in order to avoid the detoxing process. This type of behavior is extremely dangerous due to the fact that both drugs have an extremely high risk of overdose and death.

Is There A Difference Between Fentanyl And Heroin Risks?

It is important to understand that there is not a difference between fentanyl and heroin risks to a person’s health. Both drugs are opiates. Thus, they have similar risk factors associated with consumption.

Both of the drugs have an extremely high potential of opioid overdose. The only difference between fentanyl and heroin overdose risk is that fentanyl is generally more potent. Meaning, it may take less fentanyl in order to overdose.

Furthermore, both substances may cause long-term damage to both the respiratory and cardiovascular system. Therefore, brain damage and cognitive impairment are potential risk factors to opiate abuse. If the drugs are being injected, then diseases could be transmitted through the blood such as HIV and hepatitis. Injection could also lead to collapsed veins, scarring, and infected abscesses.

There are a multitude of risk factors when it comes to heroin and fentanyl abuse. Therefore, it is important that those struggling with addictions to these drugs seek help from a treatment facility as soon as possible. Once in treatment individuals are normally offered medication assisted treatment. MAT programs help people go through the withdrawal process more comfortably. In conjunction they attend therapeutic services in order to address the underlying reasons for their addiction.

Treatment For Heroin And Fentanyl Abuse In Cherry Hill, NJ

If you or a loved one is struggling with heroin or fentanyl abuse, then it is vital to seek treatment right away. Both of the drugs are life threatening. At The Healing Center we offer a drug treatment program in Cherry Hill, NJ that can help you build the foundation for long-term recovery. We provide our clients with a safe and therapeutic environment. Furthermore, our facility is built on the belief that care should be both compassionate and individualized. Call our admissions team today in order to get the help that you need.