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Fentanyl Drug Test Strips

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 150 people die every day due to overdoses involving synthetic opioids like fentanyl.1 If you or a loved one uses drugs, understanding harm reduction practices, such as using fentanyl testing strips, can help reduce the risk of fentanyl overdose.1

This article will help you learn about fentanyl testing strips, including how they work, where to find them, and how to find addiction treatment if you or a loved one is struggling with controlling substance use.

What Are Fentanyl Testing Strips?

Fentanyl test strips are an inexpensive way to know if other drugs have been cut with fentanyl. Fentanyl test strips can detect the presence of fentanyl in different drugs, such as fentanyl-laced heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, and methamphetamine, in all their different forms, such as pills, powders, and crystalloids.2 They are small, easy to use, and can be a valuable tool to reduce the harm associated with substance use.2 Fentanyl test strips cost approximately $1 per strip, and many local health departments and organizations offer them for free.3, 4

How to Use Fentanyl Test Strips

Using fentanyl testing strips is easy and takes just a few minutes.2 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), how to use fentanyl test strips will differ slightly depending on the substance you are testing, but generally include the following steps:2

Put a small amount (at least 10mg) of the drug you want to test in an unused, clean, and dry container.

  1. For every 10mg of heroin, crack, cocaine, ketamine, and pills from nonmedical sources, add a half teaspoon of water to the container and mix. For methamphetamine, MDMA, and ecstasy, you will need 1 teaspoon per 10 mg.
  2. Place the wavy end of the test strip in the water and let it absorb for 15 seconds.
  3. Take the strip out of the water and place it on a flat surface for at least 2 minutes.
  4. Read the results.

How to Read Fentanyl Test Strips

Per the CDC, here is how to read fentanyl test strips:2

  • Positive: One pink line on the left side indicates that the strip has detected the presence of fentanyl or a fentanyl analog.
  • Negative: Two pink lines indicate that the test strip has not detected the presence of fentanyl. However, it’s important to note that the substance could still contain fentanyl or a fentanyl analog.
  • Invalid: If you see a single pink line on the right-hand side of the test or if you see no lines, your test is invalid, and you should test the drugs again using a new strip.

Keep in mind that it’s possible that fentanyl wasn’t present in the portion you tested but is present in another portion of the drugs.2 You should also know that fentanyl test strips may not indicate the presence of other potent contaminants, such as carfentanil.2

There are newer fentanyl test strips, such as those currently offered by Dance Safe, which have instructions that differ slightly from those above. Please ensure you read the instructions for the test strips you are using to reduce harm. All strips will effectively detect the presence of fentanyl, however, some of the newer strips are designed to better avoid false positives, which studies show are common when using older fentanyl test strips to test methamphetamine, MDMA, and ecstasy.5

Where to Buy Fentanyl Test Strips

In many states, you can get free or low-cost fentanyl test strips from community-based organizations or public health departments in person or online.2, 3 Many states also allow you to access them at syringe exchange programs, or you can buy fentanyl test strips online.

Lowering Your Risk of Overdose

In addition to using fentanyl test strips, there are additional steps you can take to lower your overdose risk:

  • Use xylazine test strips. In addition to strips that test for fentanyl and fentanyl analogs, you may also wish to use xylazine test strips, which can detect the presence of xylazine, a CNS depressant that is sometimes found in heroin, fentanyl, and other drugs that can increase the risk of overdose.2, 4
  • Have naloxone available. Naloxone (Narcan) can quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Keep in mind that a person may need more than one dose of naloxone for stronger opioids like fentanyl.6
  • Don’t use drugs alone. Being around someone who can administer naloxone or call 911, if necessary, can save your life during an emergency.2
  • Avoid mixing substances. Polysubstance use, or the use of more than one substance at a time, is associated with a higher risk of harm and overdose.2
  • Use syringe exchange programs if you inject substances. By providing sterile syringes, these programs can help reduce the risk of infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis C and teach people about safer substance use, including providing education about naloxone and other ways to prevent overdose.7
  • Seek help for substance misuse or addiction. Fentanyl addiction treatment can help you take back control of your life and stop using substances, lowering your risk of overdose.2

Finding Fentanyl Rehabs

Seeking help for uncontrollable fentanyl or other substance use can help you regain control of your life.8 Treatment can look different for everyone based on their unique needs, but may include one or more of the following options:

  • Fentanyl detox, which can help you more comfortably and safely stop using fentanyl or other drugs under medical supervision, provide medications to treat opioid use disorder which can also reduce fentanyl withdrawal symptoms and cravings, and help you transition to ongoing treatment.8
  • Inpatient fentanyl rehab, which involves living onsite at a rehab for a specific length of time. You’ll have round-the-clock care and support, receive medication if necessary, and participate in different therapies.8
  • Outpatient fentanyl rehab, where you can live at home or in a type of sober housing but attend rehab treatment on a set schedule.8

Find rehab centers near you and filter facilities based on specific criteria, including whether you can use your health insurance to pay for addiction treatment, facility location, and types of addiction treatment offered. You can also contact American Addiction Centers (AAC) at or verify your insurance now and reach out for more information later. Our compassionate admissions navigators are here to answer your questions, discuss treatment options, and help you start the admissions process if you’re ready.

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