It’s been WakeUp Carolina’s mission and purpose to bring hope in recovery to young adults, individuals, and families. Fentanyl test strips can be a subject that some scoff at as a way for individuals to continue using illegal drugs. Our belief is that by distributing test strips to individuals we can help reduce the risk of fatal overdoses in our community. By doing so individuals can find hope through a recovery process that works for them. There are several frequently asked questions and topics we answer when training our community.

Illicit substances are highly unpredictable and can be mixed with lethal doses of fentanyl that can cause an overdose – even in very small amounts. Individuals who misuse stimulants (e.g., cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines) may be unknowingly exposed to fentanyl and are especially vulnerable to overdose. Counterfeit pills, such as “blue oxys” and fake Xanax, have become increasingly available and are commonly laced with fentanyl.

To help curb the dramatic increase in drug overdose deaths driven by synthetic opioids like fentanyl, federal funding is being used to purchase rapid fentanyl test strips that can be used to find out if drugs have been mixed or cut with fentanyl. This will help people who use drugs reduce their risk of overdose. DAODAS contracts with many community distributors of naloxone in South Carolina to enhance their overdose prevention programs by offering fentanyl test strips at no cost.

Frequently Asked Questions

“Are we condoning drug use by distributing test strips?”

The fact of the matter is that some individuals are going to experiment and take substances even if we try to tell them to “just say no.” It’s not that simple for individuals who struggle with substance use and misuse.

“So if a substance tests negative for fentanyl does that mean it’s safe?”

A negative test result does not mean an individual’s drugs are 100% safe. All street drug use comes with risks. Remember that no test is 100% accurate and your drugs may still contain fentanyl or fentanyl analogs even if you receive a negative result. You should still take caution as FTS might not detect more potent fentanyl-like drugs, like carfentanil, and fentanyl might not be everywhere in your drugs and your test might miss it. Per the DEA Fentanyl is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin.

“Isn’t this just a problem for criminals and the homeless population who live under bridges?”

Here at WakeUp Carolina, we’ve come to find that people from all demographics and age ranges can benefit from having test strips. We’ve seen and heard about fentanyl being in all types of substances throughout the tri-county. Fentanyl overdoses have impacted young adults in high school and college who are experimenting with substances. Even individuals who are business professionals that are going on vacations, bachelor parties, and/or bachelorette parties have requested test strips prior to going due to their friends using potentially lethal substances.

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