Can Fentanyl Strips Help With Opioid Overdoses?

Statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show:

  • Drug overdoses involving fentanyl increased 113% each year from 2013 to 2016.
  • In 2016, there were 63,632 drug overdose deaths with nearly 29% involving fentanyl, 25% due to heroin, and 18% from cocaine.  

What’s fentanyl? Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that’s 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. It’s a schedule 2 prescription drug typically used to treat patients with severe pain or surgery after-care. The powerful high and cheap cost influences drug labs to mix them in street drugs. Most of the time, buyers are unaware and suffer from overdoses.

Why is it dangerous? Fentanyl works by binding to the body’s opioid receptors, which are found in areas of the brain that control pain, emotions, and breathing rate. High doses of opioids, especially potent ones, can cause breathing to stop which can lead to death.

Solutions? Fentanyl test strips were originally developed by biotech company, BTNX Inc, to test urine for traces. However, they are now used to test for the opioid in cooked heroin or cocaine mixed with water. Several programs in the U.S. have begun to distribute these highly accurate strips, along with the usual clean syringes and naloxone.

Image Source: Washington Post

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Can Fentanyl Strips Help With Opioid Overdoses?

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