Fentanyl and Xylazine Test Strips
In an effort to save lives and improve people’s wellbeing, SAMHSA is highlighting for grantees that federal funding may be used to purchase rapid fentanyl test strips and xylazine test strips for drug checking purposes in certain grant programs. Grantees of such programs should always check with their federal project officers to ensure their purchases meet all grants policy requirements.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid used for treating severe pain and is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Most recent cases of fentanyl-related harm, overdose and death in the United States are linked to illicitly made fentanyl. Illicitly made fentanyl is often found in counterfeit pills, which are made to look like prescription drugs or may be added to other illicit drugs such as methamphetamine or cocaine. The risk of overdose exists when fentanyl is present given its potency and uncertain amount in the drug supply, but risk is especially high among persons who are not tolerant to it and may not be aware of the presence of fentanyl in what they are using.
Fentanyl Test Strips
Fentanyl test strips (FTS) are a low-cost method of helping prevent drug overdoses and reducing harm. FTS are small strips of paper that can be used to determine if drugs have been mixed or contaminated with fentanyl, providing people who use drugs and communities with important information about fentanyl in the illicit drug supply so they can take steps to reduce their risk of overdose.
Xylazine is a non-opioid sedative that is approved by FDA for animal use, but not for people. Xylazine is increasingly added to other drugs such as cocaine, heroin, or fentanyl to enhance the effect or increase street value. Xylazine is dangerous because it can depress breathing, blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature to critical levels and, in combination with fentanyl, can make overdose reversal challenging.
Xylazine Test Strips
Xylazine test strips (XTS) are small strips of paper that can be placed within a personal sample of drugs to detect the presence of xylazine. Such strips may be used to inform decisions about drug use practices; for example, upon receiving a positive test result, an individual may opt to not use the drugs or use them in a less risky manner.
The following programs allow for the purchase and distribution of Fentanyl and Xylazine test strips:
- Tribal Opioid Response Grant Program
- State Opioid Response (SOR) Grants
- Substance Use Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Services Block Grant
- First Responders-Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act Grants (FR-CARA)
- Grants to Prevent Prescription Drug/Opioid Overdose-Related Deaths (PDO)
- Improving Access to Overdose Treatment (ODTA)
- Harm Reduction Grant Program