As part of a $4,500, three- to six-month study, freeholders say they will attempt to distribute fentanyl test strips to homeless people who use drugs. The people who volunteered to participate in the study will be issued the strips as part of a “protect a life” kit, which will include a dose of Narcan and a list of treatment options.
The objective is to get people who are addicted to at least test what they’re about to take — and think twice if fentanyl shows up.
“Fentanyl has found its way into heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine,” Freeholder Director Lou Cappelli said. “It is present at an alarming rate.”
Participants in the study will have a checkup two to four weeks after receiving the materials to see if they’ve been used, and, if so, how they’ve worked.
“The goal is no further harm to those who have an addiction disorder,” Cappelli added. “Even though some folks are suffering (from) this disorder and the drug use may alter their judgment, we believe that they really do want to know what drugs they’re taking and they want to avoid the possibility of creating more harmful conditions for themselves.”
At least 500 kits will be distributed. If this plan proves effective, the county may adopt it as another tool to get people who are addicted into treatment.