Free fentanyl test strips being offered to drug users

The controversial decision comes after more than a dozen deaths believed to be linked to drugs laced with fentanyl.

Free fentanyl test strips being offered to drug users
Fentanyl test trips are being offered at health centers in Cuyahoga County.

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Fentanyl test trips are being offered at health centers in Cuyahoga County following 18 overdose deaths since May 20, which are believed to be linked to laced drugs.

Free fentanyl test strips being offered to drug users

The deaths prompted the county’s medical examiner to issue a public health alert.

“While we are still gathering information, early indications are that many of the fatalities are a result of fentanyl/crack cocaine. We are coordinating efforts with other major metropolitan areas within Ohio to see if they are experiencing the same.” said Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Gilson.

The free fentanyl test strips are available at Circle Health Services located at 12201 Euclid Ave. and Care Alliance Clinic located at 2916 Central Avenue.

A portion of the strip is dipped in water and drug residue. One red line means the drug has tested positive for fentanyl. Two lines means there’s no fentanyl present.

ALERT: Fentanyl is the leading cause of drug overdose in Cuyahoga County, now found in powdered and crack cocaine, meth...

Posted by ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County on Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board in Cuyahoga County has also weighed in on recent overdose deaths in the county.

In a Facebook post the board wrote, “ALERT: Fentanyl is the leading cause of drug overdose in Cuyahoga County, now found in powdered and crack cocaine, meth and heroin. Share the message and save lives: Your Drugs May Contain Fentanyl. Never use alone. Carry Naloxone. Ready for help? Call 216-623-6888.”

Existing county funding is covering the costs of the fentanyl test strips. There’s also a push to make them available at bus stops, public libraries and even recreation centers.

It’s a controversial decision. Opponents argue providing such tools encourages drug addicts to use more. Proponents believe it’s a necessary tool that prevents deaths and gives people another shot at getting the help they need to become clean.

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