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Health

Ohioans can now get free fentanyl test strips in the mail

A green package says "Fentanyl Test Strip" for forensic use only and has a visual depiction for how to read the results
Becca Costello
/
WVXU
The Hamilton County Health Department is offering free fentanyl test strips by mail.

Hamilton County residents can now get free fentanyl test strips in the mail.

Fentanyl is a powerful opioid often mixed into heroin. It's sometimes added to other street drugs, and someone might not know the drug they bought has fentanyl. Two students at Ohio State University recently died of overdoses that may have been caused by fentanyl-laced Adderall.

Hamilton County Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman says test strips can save lives.

"Obviously, it's best that somebody doesn't use the illegal substance," Kesterman said. "But if somebody has made the purchase, they're definitely planning on using it. And by testing, they're able to alter their behavior."

Test strips are still available in person through the county's needle exchange program.

You can request the test strips by mail by texting "FTS" to 22999. You'll get a response with three links: one to submit a request, one to a site explaining how to use the test strips, and one to thesoarinitiative.org, where Ohioans living outside Hamilton County can request test strips.

You can also get the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone in the mail by texting "Narcan" to 22999. You have to provide your address but do not need to give your name.

This program is limited to Hamilton County residents, but all Ohioans can get fentanyl test strips in the mail through thesoarinitiative.org.

Tuesday is the first ever Fentanyl Awareness Day. More than 107,000 people in the U.S. died of drug overdoses in the 12-month period ending last November; of those, 66% involved a synthetic opioid like fentanyl, according to the CDC.