FENTANYL TEST STRIPS: Dos, Don’ts, and FAQs
Learning how and when to use fentanyl test strips can save your life. The resources below will help you learn the best techniques for using your test strips, answer common questions about fentanyl, and show you how you can keep your community safe by reporting your test results.
How To Use Fentanyl Test Strips
Responding To A Positive Test
If your fentanyl test strip has one line, it’s positive—your substance most likely contains fentanyl. The second line is sometimes very faint, so double check that there is only one line. If your substance tests positive, you might be wondering what to do. There are a few ways you can reduce the risk of this situation:
- Use less. Fentanyl makes substances much more potent. Consider splitting the substance into multiple doses for use at another time.
- Use slowly. You can always take more, but you can’t “undo” taking a substance once it’s in your system.
- Keep Narcan on hand. For assistance getting naloxone (Narcan) in Ohio, visit the Harm Reduction Ohio webpage.
- Use with a readily available friend. You should never use alone, especially when your substance tests positive for fentanyl. If you must use alone, consider calling the Never Use Alone hotline at 800-484-3731 or downloading the BRAVE App.
- Discard the batch. Some people choose to avoid fentanyl entirely and discard batches which test positive.
- Report the batch. Keep the rest of your community safe by reporting the contaminated batch to our text message alert system.
Your response to a positive test is all about your own body. If you’re someone with lots of experience using opioids, you may have built up a tolerance that makes fentanyl much less dangerous. But since test strips can’t tell you how much fentanyl is in your substance, it’s still important to practice safer use tactics like using slowly, keeping Narcan close by, and using with a friend. If you have less experience using opioids or other drugs, you may consider taking additional precautions like letting a more experienced friend try the substance slowly first or discarding the batch entirely.
Regardless of how you handle fentanyl contamination, we encourage everyone to report a bad batch on our Deadly Batch Alerts System, which will let others in your area know to watch out for the batch.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How accurate are test strips?
- Different brands of test strips have different levels of accuracy, but test strips are very accurate overall with most brands close to 100% accurate. BTNX fentanyl test strips, for example, have over 98% accuracy.
- Why does the packaging say these are for urine testing?
- Fentanyl test strips were originally developed to determine whether a person had used fentanyl, which was accomplished by testing urine. Innovative harm reductionists repurposed these strips to detect fentanyl in drugs, not people. No urine is required to test your drugs for fentanyl.
- Is there fentanyl in my marijuana?
- You hear a lot on the news about overdoses caused by marijuana laced with fentanyl. There is no evidence that this is possible. No lab tests have confirmed that a single overdose has been caused by fentanyl-laced cannabis. Many people who overdose on fentanyl may also have used marijuana at the time of their overdose, but in these cases, the fentanyl was ingested separately from the marijuana.
- Can you overdose on fentanyl just by touching it?
- No. Getting fentanyl into your body through your skin is very difficult—it takes specialized medical devices and patches that take a long time to use. If you’re not trying to use fentanyl through your skin, you aren’t at risk for overdosing just by touching the drug. Many scenarios reported on the news about police officers overdosing from fentanyl contact have been debunked as panic attacks rather than overdose episodes.
- Are fentanyl test strips legal?
- This depends on where you live. In Ohio, where SOAR test strips are sent, fentanyl test strips are considered drug paraphernalia and cannot be used to test your drugs. However, there are no known cases of individuals being prosecuted for just having test strips. Other states and countries are much more encouraging of fentanyl test strips and other harm reduction supplies, like syringes.