As the main drug fueling the opioid crisis transitions from heroin to fentanyl, another form of overdose prevention has been brought to the area.
In a joint news conference at the Broome County Health Department, it was announced that Tino Fuentes, one of the nation’s leading experts on the use of fentanyl test strips, is in Broome County to demonstrate how they’re used.
The test strips allow people to test their drugs to see if they are laced with fentanyl, which causes death when taken in high doses.
Truth Pharm Executive Director Alexis Pleus says users are going to find a way to use so this is about saving lives.
She says her group has been made aware of three local overdose deaths in the last 10 days.
Keith Brown, Director of Health and Harm Reduction for the Katal Center in Albany, says we are in the midst of an overdose crisis, not a crime crisis. “When we talk about advancing health based policies to address these issues, this is what we mean. You do not get your way out of a crisis like this by arresting more people. You do not get your way out of a crisis like this by increasing penalties on things such as drug use or drug related crime.”
The statewide coalition End Overdose NY helped Truth Pharm secure funding to bring Fuentes to our area.
Anyone who uses substances is welcome to come learn how to test for fentanyl tomorrow at Truth Pharm’s Office at 42 Chenango Street from 10 until noon or at Prevention Point at 275 Main Street in Johnson City from 1 to 5.
Free take home testing will be provided.