DPH Launches New Fentanyl Test Strip Distribution
Fentanyl test strips will now be included in Narcan kits that are distributed by Delaware Public Health to the public. This will help to prevent accidental overdoses due to fentanyl consumption, which is now the leading cause in drug overdose deaths in the First State, found in more than 80% of fatal overdoses. According to Division of Forensic Science (DFS) data, there were 515 overdose deaths in Delaware in 2021, an increase of 15% from 2020. Fentanyl was found in 83% of those deaths. Individuals can test marijuana, cocaine, meth, ecstasy, and other substances for the presence of fentanyl. These test strips are highly sensitive and will detect very small amounts of fentanyl – which is undetectable by sight, taste, smell or touch – in marijuana, cocaine or other substances.
In Delaware, testing strips were considered paraphernalia unless used for clinical purposes until June 3, 2021, when Senate Bill 76 was signed by Governor John Carney, which allows for distribution of fentanyl test strips to be used by lay individuals and organizations. Just prior to that, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in April 2021, that they would permit state purchases of fentanyl test strips with Overdose Data to Action (OD2A) funding for the purpose of distributing to the public. OD2A supports jurisdictions in collecting high quality, comprehensive, and timely data on nonfatal and fatal overdoses and in using those data to inform prevention and response efforts. DPH is one of sixty-six jurisdictions that joined the OD2A cooperative agreement that focuses on surveillance and prevention strategies.
Fentanyl test strips are legal in Delaware, though laws may vary in other states. DPH also distributes 10-pack fentanyl test strip kits through a free mail-order program; details can be found at helpisherede.com/understanding-addiction/what-is-fentanyl.
To further enhance overdose prevention and education efforts, overdose response training is recommended for anyone who has a prescription opioid or knows of someone that has or is using illicit drugs. After the quick training, the individual will receive the overdose reversal medication, Narcan. For community training offerings and information on where you can get free Narcan, go to: https://www.helpisherede.com/overdose-prevention