Drug users who want to check their supplies to see if they have been contaminated by fentanyl can now use test strips to do so – and some states are providing the strips to drug users in an effort to reduce overdose deaths.
A Canadian company, BTNX Inc., is a chief manufacturer of the inexpensive strips, which test for fentanyl and a number of fentanyl analogues. The strips are designed to test urine and have not been approved in the U.S. to check drug supplies themselves, although it appears the strips work well when testing drugs.
Fentanyl can be cut into heroin and other drugs, including methamphetamine and cocaine. The presence of the powerful synthetic opioid is a major reason for the recent spike in overdose deaths.
Needle exchange programs in New York and California have begun providing test strips to drug users.
The strips will reveal the presence of fentanyl, although they cannot determine the concentration of the drug. The test is extremely sensitive and can produce a false positive in some cases.