In a study, researchers with Johns Hopkins and Brown University found that the test strips can detect even low levels of fentanyl in drugs.
“We are at a pivotal moment in the overdose epidemic, and we need to embrace the full range of interventions that can save lives,” said Susan Sherman, co-author of the study. "Our findings bring to the table evidence that can inform a public health approach to the fentanyl crisis. Smart strategies that reduce harm can save lives.”
Not everyone is praising the test strips as a useful tool. The Trump administration's assistant secretary of health and human services for mental health and substance abuse, Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, wrote about the issue in a blog post. She gives reasons for why she opposes the test strips, including that drug users may use them to purposely seek out fentanyl for a stronger high.
"There is known, life-saving, evidence-based, medication-assisted treatment available to individuals who have these conditions," Katz wrote. "Let’s not write off their access to that; let’s not determine in advance that they won’t seek help, and let’s not rationalize putting tools in place to help them continue their lifestyle more 'safely.'"