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The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) recently announced that 120,600 fentanyl test strips have been distributed to local organizations.

Fentanyl test strips are available in Racine County at the following locations:

  • City of Racine Public Health Department, 730 Washington Ave., Room 4, Racine, WI 53403
  • Racine County Human Services Department, 1717 Taylor Ave., Racine, WI 53403

Fentanyl test strips are available in Kenosha County at the following locations:

  • Kenosha County Health Department, 8600 Sheridan Road, Kenosha, WI 53143
  • Vivent Health-Kenosha, 1212 57th St., Kenosha, WI 54314

The first phase of the fentanyl test strip distribution program is funded by $1.25 million from Wisconsin’s share of the American Rescue Plan Act and is one of many strategies DHS is using to reduce the harms of drug use.

Additionally, the first phase of the DHS fentanyl test strip distribution program is a partnership with tribal nation health clinics, county health and human services departments, county and municipal health departments, and organizations that work with people who inject drugs.

Overdose prevention

Drugs mixed with fentanyl are the leading cause of overdose deaths in Wisconsin. Testing aims to prevent drug overdoses. In 2020, there were 812 overdose deaths in Wisconsin where illegally-manufactured fentanyl was considered to be probable or suspected in contributing to the cause of death.

Recognizing the value of fentanyl test strips in reducing the harms of drug use, Gov. Tony Evers signed legislation in March to allow the test strips to be used in Wisconsin.

“Wisconsinites who use drugs are more likely to encounter fentanyl than ever before,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. “Tragically, many people who use drugs have no idea they are ingesting fentanyl until it’s too late. That’s why we need to empower our family members, friends, and neighbors who use drugs to have as much information as possible to protect their safety. Fentanyl test strips are a critical tool in our efforts to save lives.” 

In Wisconsin, fentanyl is present in many drugs, including cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine, as well as pills made to resemble prescription medications. Fentanyl cannot be detected by sight, taste, smell, or touch. Those taking drugs, not purchased from a licensed pharmacy, should always use fentanyl test strips. These test strips do not provide information about the amount or strength of fentanyl in a drug supply. However, it will detect if there is Fentanyl present.

Where to get test strips

Test strips are available at 67 locations across Wisconsin. To view a list of locations, click the download button below. In Racine County, visit Racine at the City of Racine Public Health Department and at the Racine County Human Services Department.

Within minutes, using a test strip can let a person can know whether the drug contains fentanyl. A tiny amount – as little as two grains of salt – is enough to kill someone.

These agencies are receiving fentanyl test strip packages directly from the manufacturer. There is no limit on the number of fentanyl test strips that someone can receive through this program. Participating organizations have access to an unlimited supply of packages. Other types of organizations are expected to be eligible to participate in the program in future phases.

Each package contains one fentanyl test strip and instructions on how to use it. Instructions can also be found below.

How to test for Fentanyl

Follow the steps below to test for Fentanyl:

  1. Place a small amount of the drug supply in crushed, crystal, or powdered form in a container. A container with the residue of the drug supply can also be used.
  2. Add about 1/4 inch of water to the container. If testing MDMA or methamphetamine, add about a shot glass of water to the container.
  3. Insert the fentanyl test strip in the water for 15 seconds.
  4. Take the fentanyl test strip out of the water and lay it flat for two minutes. 
  5. Read the fentanyl test strip.

Reading your results

It is important to understand your test results to know if the tested product contains Fentanyl. Please note, Fentanyl test strips should only be used once and thrown away.

This is what your results mean:

  • One line (positive result): Fentanyl or a similar opioid has been detected in the drug supply. Avoid using this drug supply. 
  • Two lines (negative result): Fentanyl or a similar opioid has not been detected in the drug supply. Remember, no test is 100% accurate and the drug supply may still contain fentanyl or another deadly drug.
  • Invalid test: Retest the drugs using a new fentanyl test strip.

Additional prevention measures

In addition to fentanyl test strips, 134,280 doses of NARCAN® have been distributed in the state of Wisconsin since 2019. This life-saving medication has been used through community agencies at no cost to people who use opioids or drugs that could be mixed with opioids, and their families and friends.

NARCAN® is an opioid overdose reversal drug. So far this year, more than 5,000 overdoses have been reversed with this drug distributed through this program. NARCAN® also can be purchased at more than 500 pharmacies without a prescription under a standing order. 

Need NARCAN®? Locations where NARCAN® is available can be found on the DHS website. DHS also encourages hepatitis C and HIV screening as part of an ongoing drug user health initiative.

Additional fentanyl test kits and doses of NARCAN® will be purchased and distributed with funds made available from the National Prescription Opiate Litigation settlement funds.

People struggling with substance use can contact the Wisconsin Addiction Recovery Helpline to be connected to treatment options. Call 211 or go to addictionhelpwi.org.


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