Skip to main content

The addictive qualities associated with an opioid use disorder are devastating to those who succumb to the debilitating disease. From physical deterioration to excessive emotionality, the
reverberating consequences of a dalliance with this substance will plague you until it has extracted everything that makes you whole.

When discussing the topic of opioids and the addictive grip linked to the drug, it is important to understand that a number of substances fall into this category. In particular, heroin, fentanyl and carfentanil represent three types of opioids, all with extremely addictive qualities and highly destructive results.

Understanding the similarities and differences between these narcotics can aid in avoiding using them and suffering from the irreparable damage they cause.

Similarities of Heroin, Fentanyl and Carfentanil

As previously stated, all of these drugs are defined as opioids and impact the body in very similar manners. All three work by binding to the body’s opioid receptors, which are
found in the areas of the brain that control pain, pleasure and emotions.

When opioid narcotics (synthetic opioids) bind to these receptors, they can cause dopamine levels to dramatically spike within the brain’s reward areas, producing a state of extreme euphoria and relaxation.

Once ingested, these various opioids can inflict similar consequences, including:

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Respiratory depression and arrest
  • Unconsciousness
  • Coma
  • Death

Differences Between Heroin, Fentanyl and Carfentanil

Since 2010, heroin overdose deaths have more than quadrupled, with these statistics being driven by the influx of fentanyl being introduced into the general population.

The biggest factor separating these three opioids are their potency and how they were intended to be used.

While heroin was initially introduced for medicinal purposes, it was quickly discontinued due to its addictive nature and dangerous side effects. Since then, it has primarily been a black-market drug abused by opioid addicts.

Fentanyl was established under similar circumstances, gaining popularity within medical facilities as a viable option to implement with patients who were experiencing severe pain, struggling to manage pain after surgery or dealing with chronic pain but were physically tolerant to other opioids.

Where the real danger lies for someone abusing fentanyl is the fact that it is 50 times deadlier then heroin. This means it takes much less of the substance to have the same effect as heroin on a person’s body, making it far more lethal in a much smaller dose.

Finally, carfentanil is one of the newest opioids to hit the streets as an abusable narcotic, but its origins can’t even be traced to human applications. That is because carfentanil was created to be used as a sedative for large animals, such as elephants, and has no approved human use whatsoever.

This synthetic opioid is 100 times more potent then fentanyl, making it extremely difficult to revive individuals experiencing an overdose from it.

To put this into perspective, naloxone, the emergency medication used to block the effects of opioids on a person experiencing an overdose, has proven successful with both heroin and fentanyl emergencies. With carfentanil, it is not uncommon to require two to three doses of naloxone in order to revive a person who has overdosed on the substance.

When you purchase any narcotic off the streets, you are at the mercy of the person peddling that illegal substance. There are no guarantees that what you are purchasing is FDA approved or free of any exacerbating ingredients. In fact, communities around the country have been recently slammed by drug dealers who are:

  • Mixing fentanyl into the heroin they are selling
  • Pressing carfentanil into pill forms that resemble prescription pills you receive from the pharmacy

Final Thoughts & Facts About Heroin, Fentanyl and Carfentanil

You can imagine the consequences of taking a certain dosage of a substance without realizing you’ve just ingested something with 100 times the potency.

Reference the recent tragic deaths as Prince, Mac Miller, Philip Seymour Hoffman or Chester Bennington to understand just how prevalent and widespread this very real overdose danger has become.

No matter the level of fame that has been achieved or the amount of money accrued, heroin, fentanyl or carfentanil addiction is a disease that knows no favorites. It is impartial in nature and ruthless in action. It does not care what you have achieved or what your potential is in this life. It will tempt you, grab you by the throat and choke the life from your body.

Do not underestimate the devastation that these three opioids can inflict, or you, too, could fall victim to their siren song.

Life-Altering, Christian-Based Opioid & Heroin Addiction Treatment at Covenant Hills

Are you or a loved one addicted to any of these life-threatening opioid substances? Is it time to get sober and save your own life?

When you or your loved one are ready to get clean and discover a renewed sense of purpose – because, without question, your purpose is beyond measure – we can help.

At Covenant Hills, we understand how opioid addiction has derailed your life. With an expert, seasoned staff and medical team, you will never fight this battle alone and have access to 24/7 medical attention and care.

Your life matters. It’s time to become the person God made you to be.

Learn about our Christian-based heroin and opioid addiction treatment programs, or contact us for a free and confidential assessment.


National Institute on Drug Abuse. What is Fentanyl? Accessed September 20, 2018.

Drug Policy Alliance. Drug Overdose. Accessed September 20, 2018.

Medline Plus. Heroin. Accessed September 20, 2018.

National Public Radio(NPR). An Even Deadlier Opioid, Carfentanil, Is Hitting The Streets. Accessed September 20, 2018.

Forbes. Why Fentanyl Is So Much More Deadly Than Heroin. Accessed September 20, 2018.