Fentanyl is a human-made opioid that is one of the world’s most potent and addictive substances. Since fentanyl is so prevalent and can resemble many other substances, fentanyl test strips can save lives by preventing accidental overdoses. These small pieces of paper can alert you to fentanyl’s presence in drugs like cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine, regardless of the substance’s form.
What Are Fentanyl Test Strips?
Because fentanyl is odorless, tasteless and easily mistaken for other drugs due to its chameleon-like appearance, its use is on the rise. Fentanyl test strips are a harm-reduction strategy that allows people to take precautionary measures before using drugs.
Fentanyl test strips can be lifesaving for curious teenagers experimenting with substances or people living with opioid use disorder who buy drugs from dubious online sources. These tools also support people’s dignity and well-being by encouraging them to make educated decisions about their safety.
How to Use Fentanyl Test Strips
Since the introduction of rapid-response fentanyl test strips in 2011, their primary distribution points have been harm-reduction locations like clinics. However, they are also available over the counter at pharmacies and online. These affordable, compact strips are easy to use and fit neatly into pockets, purses and wallets.
Using fentanyl test strips at home is quick and straightforward. By dipping the strip into water mixed with a tiny amount of drug residue, results are discernible within minutes. A single line on the strip indicates the presence of fentanyl and its related compounds like acetylfentanyl. Conversely, double lines confirm no traces of fentanyl.
Armed with this simple, vital test, you can get essential insights into what you’re taking before you make a heartbreaking mistake. In one 2018 study, people provided with fentanyl test strips reported that seeing a positive result motivated them to make safer choices, including taking less, throwing the batch away, ensuring they never use drugs alone and having a supply of naloxone on hand to counteract an accidental overdose.
Knowledge Is Power
There were more than 100,000 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. between May 2020 to April 2021 – the highest number ever recorded over 12 months. If fentanyl test strips had been available to even a fraction of these people, some of these tragedies may have been preventable.
While test strips might not tell you how much fentanyl is present in a given substance, they allow for pivotal and empowering moments of reflection. Fentanyl test strips foster safer habits, particularly for those battling addiction. The confidence stemming from using fentanyl test strips can be a significant factor in reinforcing your agency, nurturing your self-worth and confidently charting a course toward recovery.
At Hope by the Sea, we’ve worked to educate people about the dangers of fentanyl for years. We know how to treat opioid addiction and co-occurring mood disorders to establish a foundation for lifelong sobriety. To learn more about how to receive individualized addiction programming in California, connect with us today.