LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) — Fentanyl test strips are a tool that could save more lives in Kentucky.
The small strips of paper are used to detect the powerful drug in other substances.
Kentucky lawmakers decriminalized the strips in an effort to cut down on overdose deaths.
Fentanyl is a pain-relieving drug that, according to the 2021 Overdose Fatality report by the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, has caused nearly 73% of overdose deaths.
At Voices of Hope Lex, a recovery center for addictions, the strips have already been made readily available.
Chad Baugh, a recovery coach at the center said, “These test strips are a game changer to the recovery community.”
Baugh is a former addict himself and remembers the effects of Fentanyl.
“I felt euphoria, energy, I could complete tasks,” Baugh said.
Then, Baugh said he accidentally overdosed on fentanyl and did not know that what he took at the time was even laced with it.
“And I would take these Xanax bars and within 20-30 minutes I’d blackout,” Baugh said. “I’d wake up a couple hours later and wonder what happened. Come to find out they were straight fentanyl.”
Baugh adds that he had Narcan used on him three times to resuscitate him from fentanyl overdoses.
“They’re putting Fentanyl in everything,” Baugh said. “They’re putting it in pills, in marijuana, in cocaine.”
The rapid spread of other street drugs being cut with fentanyl has made Kentucky lawmakers take action. The strips are no longer considered as drug paraphernalia, but rather a harm reduction tool.
The fentanyl testing strips kits available at Voices of Hope Lex contain instructions, strips, saline, and informational cards for those seeking recovery.
Baugh said a spoon will be needed to place the substance and saline in, then to dip the strip in.
If the strips shows one line its positive and laced with fentanyl. If it shows two, it means it’s negative and does not contain fentanyl.
Voices of Hope Lex prohibits the possession of substances on its property and inside the center. However, they will provide fentanyl test strip kits for people to take with them and test their substances (away from the center). Personnel can explain how to use the testing strips before use.
LATEST KENTUCKY NEWS:
As a survivor of fentanyl overdoses, Baugh is living proof that while drug use cannot be stopped the testing strips can save lives.
“In my active addiction, I didn’t have a choice whether I was going to use or not,” Baugh said. “If I had these fentanyl test strips back in the day, I probably wouldn’t have overdosed.”