Michigan Yet To See Widespread Use Of $1 Lifesaving Test

Michigan Yet To See Widespread Use Of $1 Lifesaving Test

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The number of people dying of drug overdose each year in the USA is rising at an alarming rate and the most common substance responsible for it is fentanyl. Most of the street drugs like heroin and cocaine are adulterated with fentanyl which can be fatal if taken over a certain quantity. A company recently launched test strips to detect the presence of fentanyl in drugs which is potentially life-saving and costs only 1$. However, Michigan seems to be very apprehensive about adapting this test which is evident from the low distribution of the strips there.

Fentanyl is much more potent than any other drugs which are a major factor why drug dealers lace it. However, in minute overdoses, it can cause death. In fact, over 50,000 people died of an opioid overdose in 2017 alone out of which fentanyl was responsible for close to 30,000. A Canadian company called BTNX Inc. developed the Fentanyl Test Strips which was initially used as a detector in urine. These strips can be dipped in a cooker of heroin or cocaine bag mixed with water too to detect the harmful substance. Needle Exchange and Public Health Centers in California, Baltimore and Philadelphia have been distributing these strips.

The State of Michigan doesn’t allow federal funding to be used for these purposes like buying fentanyl strips and has to be reliant on private money. The funding from private sectors is used up in buying supplies for reduction of harm like clean and sterile armamentarium and are left with very little to invest elsewhere, mostly because of the increased demands for harm prevention.

Drug users who become aware of the presence of fentanyl have allegedly shown concern about its usage with some saying that they would rather stop or slow down its injection, keep naloxone or Narcan at hand and consider an alternate source. However, Dr. Katz from Mental Health and Substance abuse center feels these reports are misplaced as a drug user loses the ability to take part in rational thinking and would do anything to suffice their high and stay away from the withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, the distribution of these fentanyl strips should be given more priority if death due to drug overdose has to be reduced.