What is fentanyl?


Fentanyl is a powerful prescription painkiller about 100 X more toxic than morphine.

It is now being imported and sold illegally with tragic consequences.


  • Fentanyl has been mixed with other drugs such as heroin and cocaine.
  • It has been used in tablets made to look like prescription drugs.
  • Overdoses have occurred where individuals were not aware they were consuming fentanyl.
  • It is odourless and tasteless, and therefore hard to detect.
  • It is often found in powder, pill, liquid and blotter form.
  • 2 milligrams of pure fentanyl (the size of about 4 grains of salt) is enough to kill the average adult.
  • Unintentional exposure to pure fentanyl – touching or inhaling – can cause serious harm including death.
  • Fentanyl-related deaths have been increasing in Canada.

Fentanyl nicknames include

Apache, China Girl, China White, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfella, Green beans, Jackpot, Murder 8, Shady 80s, TNT, and Tango and Cash

Overdose signs and symptoms

  • Severe sleepiness
  • Slow, shallow breathing
  • Lips and nails turn blue
  • Person is unresponsive
  • Gurgling sounds or snoring
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Tiny pupils


Naloxone is a drug that can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Naloxone wears off within 30 to 90 minutes, so it is important to seek further medical attention.

If you suspect an overdose

Call 911 immediately

Tips for speaking with youth

  • Educate them about the harms and consequences
  • Maintain a calm, two-way conversation
  • Try not to lecture, threaten, or judge them
  • Discuss peer pressure and ways to say no to drugs


To request the "What is fentanyl?" fact sheet, please send an email to CYCP_CPCJ@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.

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