ATLANTA — Health officials and pharmacists are applauding Georgia’s decriminalization of the sale of fentanyl test strips. The strips can detect the presence of the deadly synthetic opioid in street drugs, such as heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine.
Little Five Points Pharmacy in northeast Atlanta began selling the strips on Friday.
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“It’s a step in the right direction. It will save thousands of lives over time. said pharmacist Ira Katz.
According to the test instructions, a drug sample is mixed with water. The test strip is then dipped into the solution. Fifteen minutes later, the results appear on the tape. A line indicates the presence of fentanyl. Two lines indicate that there is no fentanyl in the drug sample.
“It doesn’t tell you how much fentanyl is in the drug, so hopefully people, if there’s fentanyl in their product, they don’t use it.” Katz said.
Fentanyl is 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine. A few sand-sized granules can be deadly. The illicit chemical is responsible for a record number of overdose deaths in Georgia and across the country.
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Katz said the strips can also be used to test counterfeit pills for fentanyl.
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