Combating fentanyl overdoses

There’s a new weapon being used to help combat fentanyl overdoses.

Posted: Mar 13, 2019 6:02 PM
Updated: Mar 26, 2019 1:16 PM

There’s a drug epidemic in this country, and fentanyl is playing a big role in drug overdoses.

"We’re in a reality right now where people are dying. Really 9 people in this state die every day from an opioid overdose."

Kevin Donovan is an Overdose Prevention Coordinator for ACR Health. He explained how fentanyl is making its way into just about every kind of drug out there and why people often don’t even know what they’re taking.

"At wholesale prices it’s about ½ the price of a kilo of heroin or cocaine, so then the bulk suppliers can spread out their profits by mixing it in with the other drug supplies. By the time it gets to the street level, usually the people that are selling it, and the people that are buying it have no idea what they’re buying."

ACR Health is supplying drug users with a way to know if the drugs they’re buying has fentanyl in them. They’re using fentanyl test strips. The strips are used to determine if fentanyl is present in the drugs you’re using. The goal here is not just to save a life, but to eventually get people the help they need to become drug free.

"We’re investing a dollar in a person’s life. Saving a life, and if a couple of these can prevent an ER visit, it would pay for more than the grant itself."

ACR Health obtained a $2000 grant through Excellus Blue Cross to distribute fentanyl test strips. At only a dollar a piece, the cost of the strips compared to an ER visit makes them a very cost effective tool in combating overdoses. It may take some time before the fentanyl test strips become a mainstream practice, until then, you may have to rely on the paramedics.

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