Strips Help Addicts Avoid Fentanyl Overdose – But Are Not Approved
Cheap fentanyl test strips can help prevent overdoses, but because the strips have not been FDA approved, they must be used “off label” – preventing widespread adoption.
As reported by the Bellingham Herald, a fast, cheap test to see if street drugs contain fentanyl is gaining favor with researchers and drug outreach workers as a breakthrough in preventing overdoses and slowing the nation’s growing death toll from opioid abuse.
However, practical, safety and legal concerns about the fentanyl test strips, including those raised by the manufacturer itself, have slowed the product’s usage nationally and limited its potential to change the behavior and, possibly, the lives of illicit drug users.
The test strips, made by BTNX, Inc. in Ontario, Canada, were designed to test patient urine samples for fentanyl, a powerful opioid pain killer that’s fueling a national epidemic of fatal overdose deaths. The product hasn’t been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to test drug samples.
Jess Tilley, co-founder of the New England Drug Users Union, said she hands out over 500 test strips each month in western Massachusetts.
Parents, siblings and spouses want them for addicted loved ones. College students get them for troubled roommates. But usually it’s the drug users themselves who seek Tilley out.
“The common misconception is that drug users don’t care about their health or their lives,” Tilley said. “That couldn’t be further from the truth. People do not want to die.”
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To learn more about potentially life-saving fentanyl test strips, please visit the Bellingham Herald.