Health department offering test strips to determine if fentanyl is in user's drugs

Health department offering test strips to determine if fentanyl is in user's drugs
(Source: WTOL)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Northwest Ohio, along with the whole nation, is in the middle of an opioid epidemic, with more and more drugs being laced with deadly doses of Fentanyl.

One organization is offering addicts an option before they use drugs that could seem controversial.

Courtney Stewart of Northwest Ohio Syringe Services is promoting a program that is hoped to keep addicts alive, and eventually lead to treatment.

Northwest Ohio Syringe Services, or NOSS, is part of the Toledo Lucas County Health Department and offers test strips that will tell a drug user if and how much fentanyl is in the drug they are about to take.

"We want people to test whatever they plan to inject with those strips so they have more options if they will use they know to use less or adopt the buddy system and use the buddy system and have Narcan around," Stewart said. "It's an anonymous program. We value that and the people that come to us value it as well."

These strips are offered free of charge - along with needles, alcohol swabs, and even Narcan. It's all in an effort to prevent HIV, hepatitis C and infection in users.

NOSS is set up at St. Paul's United Methodist Church on Madison Avenue every Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Working alongside DART, these community programs understand addiction, and want people to have a place to turn to when they're ready to quit.

"If we can do anything through motivational interviewing when they come to see us to work through some of those barriers or just to give them more resources, it's a nice, neutral, non-judgmental space to support that person at that time," Stewart said.

Since the program has started, they have helped around 40 addicts get treatment.

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