Talking Points: Testing strips legalized in effort to combat fentanyl overdoses
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.
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.
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 airs every Wednesday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., live on CBS News Minnesota.
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