Fentanyl test strips distributed statewide


COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine recently announced that the State has distributed one million fentanyl test strips in an initiative to combat the opioid crisis. The strips serve as crucial tools in harm reduction efforts, allowing users to test substances for the presence of fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid that has been increasingly found laced in various street drugs, contributing significantly to overdose fatalities.

“By providing access to fentanyl test strips, we empower individuals to make informed decisions and potentially avert tragic consequences associated with opioid use,” said Governor DeWine.

Unintentional drug overdose fatalities among Ohio residents decreased by 5% in 2022, totaling 4,915 deaths, while nationwide there was a marginal 1% rise in overdose deaths during the same period. Fentanyl was involved in 81% of those deaths, often in combination with other drugs.

Since April 2023, RecoveryOhio, the Ohio Department of Health, and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services have been working in cooperation to distribute fentanyl test strips. Numerous channels are being utilized, including county health departments, harm reduction organizations, colleges, law enforcement, Project DAWN sites, and local outreach programs, ensuring broad accessibility across the state.

Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided With Naloxone) is a network of opioid overdose education and naloxone distribution programs coordinated by the Ohio Department of Health. By the end of 2023, Project DAWN sites had ordered 795,300 fentanyl test strips.

This landmark distribution of fentanyl test strips aligns with Ohio’s broader initiative that includes providing wide access to the life-saving drug Naloxone. Naloxone, when administered during an opioid overdose (from heroin, fentanyl, or prescription pain medications), blocks the effects of opioids on the brain and quickly restores breathing.

In 2023, Project DAWN distributed 292,419 naloxone units. In addition, the State of Ohio has installed cabinets containing free doses of Naloxone on 48 public and private college and university campuses, and more than 130 cabinets at 65 rest areas across the state.

Ohioans can order free naloxone and fentanyl test strips to be delivered to their homes through the website http://www.naloxone.ohio.gov. For more information on resources related to harm reduction, visit recoveryohio.gov.

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