Carfentanil Effects: Addiction & Overdose

As a luxury drug and alcohol rehab in South Florida, we have seen first-hand the effects of the opioid epidemic in the United States. People across the country have been struggling with an addiction to various opioids, including prescription painkillers, heroin, and synthetic opioids like fentanyl. The problems continue to get worse. The number of overdose deaths from opioids was six times higher in 2017 than it was in 1999.1 With more and more people becoming addicted, in the past 10 years, stronger opioids are hitting the illegal drug market, including one called carfentanil. We’re looking into carfentanil effects, how it compares to fentanyl, and the additional dangers it presents.

What Is Carfentanil & How Does It Work?

Carfentanil is an extremely powerful synthetic opioid that’s classified as a Schedule II controlled substance in the U.S. It’s a potent analog of fentanyl and is used as a tranquilizer for large animals like elephants in a medical setting.

However, more recently, there have been reports of it being abused by people. It is 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than the already deadly fentanyl.2 It’s typically sold on the streets in the form of a white powdery substance or as a pill. Carfentanil effects can occur within minutes of exposure, including dizziness, drowsiness, and disorientation.

As with other substances, carfentanil may be sold on the streets or online under various names or labels to increase its perceived value and avoid legal detection. Some common carfentanil street names include:

  • 50
  • Apache
  • China Buffet
  • China Girl
  • China White
  • Drop Dead
  • Elephant Tranquilizer
  • Gray Death (mixture of heroin, fentanyl, U-47700, and carfentanil)
  • Serial Killer
  • Tango and Cash
  • White China
  • White Death

Carfentanil works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and body. These receptors are involved in regulating functions like pain, mood, and others. When carfentanil binds to opioid receptors, it produces a range of effects by manipulating these functions.

Some of the most common carfentanil effects users can expect to include reduced pain, sedation, and euphoria. Because this drug is significantly more potent than other opioids, a small dose can produce strong side effects.

It’s also important to note that these names or labels may also be used to refer to other substances, which can increase the risk of physical complications, like an overdose. If you’re misusing carfentanil or any other drug, seek professional help right away.

Carfentanil Lethal Dose & Signs of Overdose

As we previously mentioned, carfentanil is 10,000 times more potent than morphine. Because of this, it’s only used in a medical setting for sedating large animals. In humans, carfentanil has no legitimate use and is considered highly dangerous due to its high potency.

Due to its strong potency, carfentanil overdose is a very real threat. Unfortunately, many people who become addicted to prescription drugs, heroin, or fentanyl and do not undergo professional care may experience increased tolerance and physical dependence, causing them to search for a more intense high. As a result, they may turn to carfentanil but take too much since so little is required.

Other drugs like heroin may also be laced with carfentanil, either with or without the user’s knowledge. Because of this, as well as the fluctuating amounts of the drug in each mixture, it makes carfentanil use even more dangerous and the threat of overdose more likely.

It takes a small amount of carfentanil to overdose. According to research, it only takes about 2 milligrams of fentanyl to be fatal, and carfentanil is 100 times more potent than fentanyl. For this reason, the lethal dose of carfentanil is estimated to be around 0.02 milligrams (mg) for an average adult. However, this dose may vary depending on the person’s age, weight, tolerance, and route of administration.2

Common carfentanil overdose symptoms include:

  • Blue or purple lips and skin (cyanosis)
  • Bradycardia or tachycardia (heart rate that’s too slow or too fast)
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Extreme lethargy or loss of consciousness
  • Muscle weakness or stiffness
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Respiratory depression or arrest
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Severe hypotension
  • Coma
  • Death

If someone you know is exhibiting these carfentanil overdose symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention immediately and inform them of the presence of carfentanil. Life-saving drugs like Narcan may be ineffective or require several doses.3

Carfentanil Addiction Treatment

As is the case with other opioids, long-term carfentanil abuse can quickly lead to a severe opioid use disorder. However, because it’s not intended for human use, carfentanil also presents additional dangers, such as life-threatening overdose.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with carfentanil addiction, seek professional help immediately. Our luxury detox can reduce the risk of withdrawals and make long-term recovery possible.

After detoxification, patients can then enter our comprehensive opioid rehab program, during which they will partake in individual and group therapies to address the psychological factors of their drug use. Substance abuse is often associated with mental health problems and other stressors, all of which our facility aims to address to ensure a full recovery.

If you or a loved one is addicted to opioids or another drug, our luxury drug and alcohol rehab in Palm Beach wants to help. Serious health problems or drug overdoses are too common with addiction, so don’t let your problems reach this point.

For more information about our addiction treatment in Palm Beach, call Seaside Palm Beach at 561-677-9374 or send us your contact information, and we’ll reach out to you.


  1. CDC – Understanding the Epidemic
  2. DEA – Carfentanil: A Dangerous New Factor in the U.S. Opioid Crisis
  3. WHO – CARFENTANIL Critical Review Report

Related Reading:

Can Fentanyl Cause Depression?

Percodan: Another Narcotic?

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