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Fentanyl Test Kits Fight Opioid Epidemic

December 17, 2019

– Details. – All right, meantime in tonight’s
State of Addiction report, MedStar Hospitals are now
the first in the state to offer fentanyl detection kits. The potent synthetic opioid is behind a growing number of deadly overdoses. Eye team reporter, David
Collins, joins us live from MedStar Union Memorial Hospital to explain how the program works. Dave? – Well, Ashley, this is all
about changing behaviors. Studies show when users
know fentanyl is in the drug then they choose not to
use it, use less of it, or use it when a Naloxone kit is nearby. (ambulance wailing) – [Narrator] City Fire responding
to another opioid overdose in the streets of Baltimore. Several times a day,
city medics revive people taking prescription pills,
cocaine and heroine, often laced with fentanyl. (ambulance wailing) MedStar Health’s three Baltimore hospitals just launched a program
to help drug misusers. It’s a kit, to test if
their narcotic contains the potent synthetic opioid. The hospitals are providing
free fentanyl test kits as part of its opioid overdose
survivor outreach program. Those who get them are screened
in emergency departments and referred by peer recovery coaches. – [Man] If the presence of fentanyl is known by the individual
that it alters their particular behavior and their interactions
with that substance, that could mean anything from abstaining from using the substance at all, to using less, to using with a Naloxone kit nearby. – [Narrator] According to
the state health department, Baltimore city had 750 deaths
linked to fentanyl last year. So far this year, state health officials have seen an 11% decline in opioid deaths, but only a 7% decline in
deaths related to fentanyl. – [Ryan] It’s a life saving intervention, because it has the ability to alter the behavior of the individual. – [Narrator] Here’s how the
fentanyl test strips work, users put some of the drug into a tube, then pour in a buffer solution, stir, and add the test strip. Five minutes later the
results will be revealed. One line is positive, two lines negative. – [Ryan] We employ peer coaches, we provide free Naloxone, and adding fentanyl test strips is another way that we’re
providing evidenced-based harm reduction services to decrease deaths and serve the communities. – They have 2,000 kits. MedStar is also teaming up with
the state health department, which is providing free kits. MedStar is encouraging other
hospitals to do the same. Reporting live from northeast
Baltimore, David Collins WB

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