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Understanding Fentanyl Test Strips: A Vital Tool For Safety

Fentanyl is one of deadliest drugs found on the streets today. Along with methamphetamine, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has determined that fentanyl is responsible for nearly all the fatal drug overdoses in the United States. It’s an incredibly heinous substance, wreaking havoc on the lives of countless Americans.

However, fentanyl’s real danger lies in its ability to mix with other more commonly used drugs. Fentanyl is cheap to produce, creates an intense body high, and easily mixes with  Cocaine, MDMA, heroin, methamphetamine, and   pressed benzos like Xanax. Because Fentanyl is cheaper, cutting it with these other drugs means dealers can lower their upfront costs and increase their profit margins. As a result, it’s incredibly common and caused the deaths of around 107,543 in 2023 alone.

While Brentwood Springs absolutely doesn’t recommend anyone taking a banned substance, we do understand that it happens. With that, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide around fentanyl test strips—a system used to determine if there’s fentanyl present in another drug.

Let’s dive deeper into fentanyl, how it affects the body, how to test if it’s in an illegal drug, and how you can stay away from this horrific substance.

Fentanyl Detox: Brentwood Springs Can Help

Before we jump in, if you or someone you know is struggling with a fentanyl addiction and is looking for help, Brentwood Springs Detox center is always available for treatment. Reach out to us at (615) 560 7545  to learn about how to get admitted to our program.

Fentanyl Awareness: What Is Fentanyl, Why Should You Avoid It And How Long Does Fentanyl Stay In Your System?

Although fentanyl is an incredibly addictive and dangerous drug, it’s actually approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). When applied in proper doses by a doctor, it’s an effective pain reliever and anesthetic. However, much of the fentanyl killing Americans and other people worldwide is manufactured in secret, illegal lab operations and being transported through Mexico. People can intentionally take it via pill, snorting a powder through their nose, by smoking, or in spiked heroin, cocaine, MDMA, benzos, or methamphetamine . Although sometimes intentionally taken with another drug, many overdoses are accidental and affect people intending to do the other drug alone—however they unknowingly ingest fentanyl. Because it’s so potent, you can overdose after ingesting only two milligrams, so it’s incredibly risky and dangerous.

How Long Does Fentanyl Stay In Your System?

Many factors affect whether fentanyl can be detected in a drug test. It depends on the physical makeup of the individual, how often they take the drug, and what type of test is used. Here’s how the detection windows vary in each popular test:

Urine Test: Urine tests are highly affordable and the most frequently used drug test. They detect fentanyl anywhere from one to 72 hours after an individual uses the drug.

Blood Test: This is by far the shortest timeframe. Fentanyl can disappear in up to twelve hours, and in some cases, minutes.

Hair Test: Although hair tests have the longest window of up to three months, they’re also the most expensive test to administer.

How To Use Fentanyl Test Strips: Getting The Right Fentanyl Test Kits, Knowing How To Use Them And Properly Read The Results

As we mentioned previously, fentanyl test strips are tools to detect the presence of fentanyl in other recreational drugs before an individual uses them. Only two milligrams of fentanyl can cause an overdose, so testing a drug beforehand could save someone’s life.

They were originally used to detect fentanyl in urine, but people discovered that they were effective at detecting it in other drugs as well.

How To Use Fentanyl Test Strips

Step 1: Pick Your Testing Option.

The city of New York notes that there are three options for using fentanyl test strips:

  1. Test All Of Your Drugs In Water: Test strips work by mixing a sample of the drugs in water and placing the strip in the mixed solution. However, because fentanyl isn’t always evenly distributed throughout, it’s best to put all the drugs you plan to take in water so that you get the most accurate results. Once the test is finished, you can drink them, wait for the water to evaporate, or use a clean nasal spray device to ingest the substance.
  2. Finely Crush Your Drugs And Test The Residue In Water: Crush your drugs up into a fine powder, place them in a bag and then dump them out. You’ll then mix water with the residue. This lets you still ingest the drugs immediately and still get a decent sample of the entire amount.
  3. Test 10 MG Of Your Drugs: If you can’t crush up any drugs, take 10 milligrams (about the amount needed to cover Abraham Lincoln’s head on a penny) and put them in a dry container. You’ll then fill the container with water.

Step 2: Mix In Water.

Add in the water to create the testing solution. For MDMA, meth, and ecstasy, use 1 teaspoon for every 10 milligrams of crystal powder. Use half a teaspoon for cocaine, heroin, or any other drug.

Step 3: Use The Fentanyl Test Strips.

Open the test strip and follow package instructions on which side to place in the water. Never use test strips more than once. Make sure the strip soaks up water for at least 15 seconds. Afterwards, take out the strip and lay it on a flat surface for two minutes. At the end of two minutes, check the results.

Reading And Understanding Fentanyl Test Strip Results

Hold the fentanyl test strip so that the wavy side is on the right. A negative test will show two purple bars, while a positive test will show a single bar on the left side. If you only see a bar on the right, your test is invalid and you should repeat the above process with a new strip.

Where To Buy Fentanyl Test Strips

The government and other health agencies want to make fentanyl testing strips as accessible as possible. Many local health departments carry them for free and you can also buy them online for about $1 per strip (they’re even available on Amazon).

How To Prevent Opioid Overdose And Signs Of Fentanyl Overdose

How To Prevent An Overdose

Of course, the best way to prevent an overdose is to never take illicit drugs, however, we understand the realities of the world. To make taking drugs as safe as humanly possible, always test them using the methods we described above and only buy from people you’ve used in the past.

If an overdose does occur, Narcan can reverse adverse effects of fentanyl and restore life back to an individual within 2–3 minutes if administered properly. It’s available readily in all 50 states and can be administered as a nasal spray or injected.

Even after using Narcan, you should always call 911 to get expert medical attention.

Fentanyl Overdose Signs

 Sometimes it can be difficult to spot a fentanyl overdose, as the patient is often sedated heavily from the drugs. The state of Missouri lists how to spot one so you know when to take lifesaving measures.

Small Pupils: If a patient has smaller-than-usual pupils, it’s often a sign that something is off.

Slow Or Shallow Breathing: Fentanyl can constrict the lungs and make it difficult to breathe.

Cold Or Discolored Skin: The blood will start to decrease as fentanyl slows down the body’s heart rate.

Discolored Fingernails And Lips: Just like dehydration, decreased blood flow will affect how the patient’s nails and lips appear.

Cessation Of Breathing: During the beginning of the overdose, the patient will show slow or light breaths. However, as fentanyl continues to take its toll, breathing will become almost impossible.

Lack Of Consciousness: The patient will almost completely pass out, unaware of their surroundings or anyone speaking to them. This is why, if you must do these drugs, you never take them alone.

Flimsy Limbs: The patient will lose all consciousness in their extremities, laying their lifelessly.

Incoherent Or Lack Of Speech: As the overdose progresses, the patient will gradually lose their ability to talk or communicate.

Total Unresponsiveness: In the later stages of an overdose, the patient will hardly be able to communicate or illustrate that they’re aware of what’s happening around them.

Vomiting: The patient will begin to vomit in the final stages.

Choking Sounds: The overdose is making it difficult for oxygen to get to the brain, restricting airflow.

Check in with local opioid overdose prevention programs to find more information around how to prevent drug-related deaths.

Brentwood Springs Is There For You If You’re Ready To Start A New Chapter

 If you’re ready to start the recovery process and need a place to undergo fentanyl detox, Brentwood Springs has everything you need. Learn more about our expert care and comforting facility that gives you the fresh start you need. Learn more about our programs here and contact us at (615) 560 7545  to start the admissions process.


Drug Enforcement Administration, National Drug Threat Assessment 2024

Facts About Fentanyl

Has Fentanyl Peaked?.


How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your System?

What are fentanyl test strips?

Fentanyl facts, overdose signs to look for, and how you can help save a life



How to Find and Use Fentanyl Test Strips


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