The Baltimore City Health Department plans to pilot an alternative use of BTNX Rapid Response Urine Test strips. The strips will be distributed through their mobile needle and syringe exchanges to see whether they are effective when used as a harm reduction tool for determining whether an illicit drug contains fentanyl.
As reported by The Baltimore Fishbowl:
Health care providers, researchers, advocates and users are increasingly looking to BTNX strips–traditionally a tool for employers to detect drug use among recruits and workers– to test for the presence of fentanyl in street-bought drugs. Instead of dipping the strip into someone’s urine, one can dissolve some of the illicit drugs into water and use the test to determine whether or not it contains fentanyl. A line will appear if it detects any amount.
The article notes the health department has clarified that this is a study for the efficacy of the strips in light of remarks made by Baltimore City Health Commissioner Leanna Wen that the strips warrant more research before they can be safely relied on. Before the study moves forward funding must first be approved by the Board of Estimates.
To learn more:
City to study use of fentanyl-detecting test strips by distributing them in exchange vans (The Baltimore Fishbowl)