Columbus Public Health officials are launching a pilot program this month to give drug users free urine test strips to determine whether the substances are laced with fentanyl.
Jim Letizia reports.
The goal is to help reduce Franklin County’s rate of opioid overdose deaths. The deapartment will distribute one thousand test strips over the next two months, which would cover one-fourth of the county's known drug users. Some users take fentanly unknowingly. The county coroner's office says two-thirds of last year's overdose deaths involved fentanyl. The synthetic opioid, is up to 50 times more potent than heroin. The test strips cost the city one dollar each, and will be distributed through programs and businesses frequented by drug users. Instructions and information about the overdose drug naloxone will be included. Recipients will also receive a bar code that directs them to a phone survey about strips and information about drug treatment.Test strips are also being distributed in Toledo, Dayton, Cleveland and Portsmouth.