How to Test for Fentanyl

Fentanyl is largely responsible for the increase in overdoses in recent years. It’s been found that fentanyl-laced drugs are increasingly common. This includes heroin, cocaine, meth, and other common street drugs as well as reformulated prescription pills that are made to look like a replica of a familiar drug. Now more than ever, those who have addictions are at risk for overdose and life-threatening responses to tainted drugs. 

It’s important to be vigilant and use harm reduction measures like fentanyl test strips (FTS) to ensure a person who is abusing drugs can avoid fatal consequences. For more information about the dangers of fentanyl, contact Oasis Recovery to speak with a specialist. We are here to help you learn more about harm reduction measures and provide you with treatment programs and services when you are ready to kick the habit and break the cycle of abuse. 

How to Test for Fentanyl

Fentanyl test strips (FTS) allow for those who are actively using drugs to determine if a specific drug may have been laced with fentanyl. 

Test strips are an essential tool in harm reduction. No one wants to see someone overdose or risk death because they accidentally took a drug that was stronger than expected or tainted with unexpected substances like fentanyl. 

Fentanyl (sometimes referred to as “fent”) is an extremely potent synthetic opiate that is far stronger than heroin or other common opioids and opiates. Fentanyl is inexpensive and common in many forms including:

  • Powder
  • Liquid
  • Nasal spray
  • Lozenges 
  • Sublingual 

Because fentanyl is so powerful and cheap it is increasingly used laced with other drugs to increase the potency and addictive potential of those substances. 

FTS are small strips of paper that can detect the presence of fentanyl in any drug batch whether it comes in pills, powder, or injectable forms. This tool has the potential to save lives. All sorts of people use drugs for very different reasons. It’s important not to blame someone for a situation that is often complicated and difficult to understand. Blaming someone for having an addiction does not help solve the situation. 

FTS can save a teenager who is experimenting with drugs for the first time, someone who has a severe addiction, someone who is at a party and makes a poor decision in the heat of the moment, someone who is using a substance from a new source, someone who may have relapsed after years of sobriety. The general ability to test a drug to make sure you are getting what you had in mind is a harm reduction method that provides people with the dignity they deserve and the autonomy to make personal decisions. 

The ability to self-test substances using FTS allows those who choose to use drugs with the tools to make educated and informed decisions about their personal safety.

Where to Find FTS and How to Use Them

FTS are primarily distributed at harm reduction sites. These tend to include needle exchange programs and online sources that sell test strips. It is possible to locate test strips at corner shops and dollar stores in some locations. The strips are typically inexpensive and should not cost more than one dollar. This is a low price to pay considering the very real risk of extremely negative consequences. 

Test strips are designed to be easy to use and discreet to carry. They work similarly to other over-the-counter (OTC) testing products. In order to use a test strip, dip the strip into water that contains a small amount of the drug in question. Wait a few minutes for results. The appearance of a single line usually signifies that fentanyl or a similar substance has been detected in the substance. Usually, two red lines are used to indicate that fentanyl or related substances were not detected. This may vary from product to product so it is important to read the direction indicated on the test strip packaging. 

What Drugs Are Commonly Laced with Fentanyl

That’s the problem. It’s impossible to know. Fentanyl has increasingly been showing up “cut” into all manner of drugs from MDMA to prescription opiates and benzodiazepines (benzos) that come in pill form. 

Contact Us to Learn More about Harm Reduction

If you or someone you love is experimenting with drugs, it’s a good idea to keep in mind that there are harm reduction resources available to prevent overdose or other negative consequences associated with drug use. These harm reduction measures are especially important nowadays as the introduction of extremely potent drugs like fentanyl are commonly combined with other drugs. FTS can help prevent avoidable overdoses and deaths. If someone does overdose, Narcan (naloxone) can prevent a person from dying as a result. Harm reduction provides those who use drugs with a way to prevent worst-case scenarios from becoming a reality. Reach out to Oasis Recovery to speak with a specialist about the importance of harm reduction measures and to learn about our many addiction treatment services.

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