'We're Done With Dead Kids': U.S. Bars Hand Out Free Fentanyl Tests
By : Nathan Frandino
Source : Reuters (Via U.S. News)
Walking into the Good Hop craft beer bar in Oakland, California, Alison Heller looks like any other patron thirsting for happy hour.
But instead of heading to the bar, she goes straight to the bathroom, opens her backpack and pulls out a plastic bag with fentanyl test strips. She puts 25 strips in a jar for anyone to take for free.
"If you're going to use drugs here, you can test them," said Heller, a co-founder of the harm-reduction nonprofit FentCheck.
Strips to test drugs for the presence of the deadly synthetic opioid are becoming more commonplace in bars, restaurants and venues as the country grapples with the opioid epidemic and soaring death toll.
Fentanyl has flooded U.S. streets and contributed to nearly 500,000 U.S. opioid overdose deaths over two decades, with the COVID-19 pandemic worsening the situation. Fentanyl, which is 100 times more potent than morphine, produces effects similar to other opioids, like sedation, drowsiness and nausea. Overdosing can cause respiratory failure leading to death.