Watch CBS News

Talking Points: Testing strips legalized in effort to combat fentanyl overdoses

CBS News Live
CBS News Minnesota Live

MINNEAPOLIS -- Fentanyl can kill even in very small doses. In 2021, Minnesota lost 1,286 lives, while the country lost more than 107,000. Fentanyl is a pharmaceutical chameleon, easily mixed with street drugs from cocaine to pills to even marijuana. 

Fentanyl is an inexpensive synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Its cousin, carfentanyl, is 10,000 times more powerful than morphine. Often a white powder, fentanyl is often mistaken for other drugs. In its liquid form it can be added to nasal sprays, even small candies.

Esme Murphy took a look at a newly legalized tool in the battle against fentanyl: slim testing strips, where a drug user can test a substance to see if it contains fentanyl. Murphy also examined the questions and concerns some people have about the testing strips.

Murphy spoke with Alicia House, executive director of the Steve Rummler Hope Network, an organization that is distributing tens of thousands of strip tests in our community.

Talking Points: Fentanyl test strips (part 1) 10:01

A new federal law now allows anyone with a license to prescribe a lifesaving drug -- buprenorphine, also know as suboxone. Murphy spoke with addiction specialist Dr. Charles Reznikoff, with Hennepin Healthcare, about suboxone and whether the testing strips in any way encourage drug use.

Talking Points: Fentanyl test strips (part 2) 07:41

Finally, Major Rick Palaia, with the Hennepin County Sheriff's Department, provided a law enforcement perspective on fentanyl overdoses and lifesaving success of narcan.

Talking Points: Fentanyl test strips (part 3) 09:04

Talking Points airs every Wednesday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., live on CBS News Minnesota.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.