California has a new take on its goal of decreasing Fentanyl deaths in its borders: offer testing strips to drug users. California has spent $57,000 on distributing these strips to half of the state’s needle exchanges, a kind of safe place for drug users to trade used and dangerous needles in for clean ones. Fentanyl is very concentrated and very deadly, easy to overdose on. Since the facilities are already designed to improve survivability for addicts, distributing the strips here is a smart idea. The strips work similarly to a pregnancy test, and allow addicts the chance to save their own lives.

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As the opioid epidemic continues to sweep the nation, California has taken a new approach to help lower fatalities within its borders.

In May 2017, the Golden State’s public health department began paying needle exchanges to provide drug users with test strips that determine if a drug contains fentanyl.

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 30 to 50 times stronger than heroin, can be mixed into other drugs without the user knowing (though some users intentionally seek it out for its strength). This is a common practice for drug dealers because fentanyl is inexpensive and easily available.

Because of its potency – as little as two milligrams is a lethal dosage to most people – fentanyl is now responsible for the largest number of overdose deaths in the U.S.

Since last May, the Los Angeles Times reports that California has invested $57,000 on doling out the test strips, worth $1 each, to half of the state’s 45 needle exchanges. Click Here to Continue Reading

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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