This week, MedStar Health hospitals in Baltimore became the first to offer free fentanyl test kits to overdose patients in the ER.
Ryan Moran, Director of Community Health for MedStar’s Baltimore Hospitals, speaks about the decision in this WBAL’s article:
Moran says the hospitals will match up these patients with trained peer recovery coaches to help them recover from their addiction.
Fentanyl is often added to heroin, cocaine or pills without the user being able to detect it.
“Studies have proven that individuals experiencing substance use disorder will change behavior and interactions with substances if the presence of fentanyl is known,” Moran told WBAL NewsRadio.
“If they know fentanyl is present, they can take steps to reduce the risk of overdose, such as taking less of the substance, not using alone, using with a naloxone rescue kit nearby or complete abstinence.”
2,000 emergency test kits are being distributed to high-risk overdose patients in the emergency rooms of MedStar Union Memorial, MedStar Harbor Hospital, and MedStar Good Samaritan. There was over 1,888 overdose deaths in Maryland in 2018, with 2,143 opioid overdose deaths overall, according to the MDH.