Fentanyl Test Strips Still Illegal in Many Southern States

The recent fentanyl epidemic has proven to be one of the deadliest drug problems to hit the country. Southern states, continue to see a surge in overdose deaths. The cause: counterfeit pills and drugs, sold illegally on the street, cut with fentanyl without the user’s knowledge. Overdose deaths have gone up more than 70% over the past five years in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. In 2021 alone, 48 out of 67 drug-related deaths in Mississippi were caused by fentanyl overdoses.

That’s why harm reduction advocates say having access to fentanyl test strips can save lives. The test strips are an easy-to-use tool that can detect the opioid’s presence in drug samples. The testing strips are inexpensive, costing about $1. Because the test strips are highly sensitive, a minimal amount of drug residue is sufficient to obtain a result. The test strip is then set on a flat surface until results appear, typically within 5 minutes. One line indicates fentanyl is present in the sample; two lines indicate there is not.

However, fentanyl test strips remain illegal to possess and distribute in much of the U.S., including the Southern states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, most of Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and West Virginia. These are all the states that saw an increase in fatal overdoses in 2020.

Symptoms of Fentanyl Overdose

Fentanyl which is 50-100 times stronger than morphine slows down your breathing rate, which is the leading cause of death in opioid overdoses.

If you believe someone is experiencing an overdose due to fentanyl it is crucial to call 911 right away. A person that is overdosing on fentanyl may exhibit the following signs and symptoms:1

  • Low blood pressure
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Limp body
  • Changes in pupillary size
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Blue colored lips and fingernails (cyanosis)
  • Slowed or stopped breathing
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Reduced or loss of consciousness
  • Coma

Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Drug addiction—illicit or prescription—is not only difficult to quit on your own, but also can be dangerous.

If you are looking for drug rehab in Mississippi, Oxford Treatment Center provides medical detox and treatment for addictions to opioids, prescription drugs, painkillers, alcohol, and several other types of substances.

Substance use disorder is a treatable condition that is covered by most insurance policies. Check the verification of benefits tool to see if your treatment is covered at Oxford Treatment Center or call a rehab admissions navigator at .

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