JCDH relaunches naloxone training and pushes fentanyl testing strips as opioid crisis worsens

JCDH pushing Fentanyl test strips
Published: Oct. 21, 2022 at 8:43 PM CDT
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JEFFERSON CO., Ala. (WBRC) - An ongoing fentanyl crisis is why the Jefferson County Department of Health is bringing back its naloxone training and pushing the use of fentanyl testing strips.

These testing strips are now legal in Alabama because of a change in the state law and it’s coming at a crucial time as health leaders said there’s a real risk that the drugs on the streets are laced with fentanyl.

“Between 2019 and 2021, Jefferson County saw a 233% increase in Fentanyl related overdose deaths.”

Dr. Darlene Traffanstedt said Jefferson County is experiencing an ever-worsening fentanyl overdose crisis.

“So far this year, fentanyl-related overdose deaths account for 80% of all of our overdose deaths here in the county, and so it’s really important that people are aware of the risk of fentanyl in our drug supply and be prepared,” Dr. Traffanstedt explained.

Dr. Traffanstedt said criminal organizations are making counterfeit pills that look exactly like prescription medications.

That’s why JCDH is offering naloxone training to reverse opioid overdoses, as well fentanyl testing strips.

She said these low-cost interventions can save lives.

“Jefferson County has the highest number of overdose deaths in the state of Alabama, and we are constantly fighting to change that trend. We really want people to take advantage of the resources that we have to offer them here,” Dr. Traffanstedt said.

She said fentanyl test strips can be used to test drugs in any form for the presence of fentanyl, but she said there is no such thing as safe drug use.

“We have to remember is that with every life lost or every non-fatal overdose that we count on our dashboard that is a person, a human being that is loved and loves others and has promise and things to offer our world and so we are incredibly passionate about this here at the health department,” Dr. Traffanstedt said.

Dr. Traffanstedt said JCDH had a supply of 7,000 fentanyl testing strips.

It’s only been dispensing for a little over a month now and that supply is almost gone.

If you or someone you love needs help getting these supplies, click here to register for Naloxone and/or Fentanyl Test Strip Training.

For treatment and recovery resources, call the Recovery Resource Center (RRC) at 205-458-3377, or the Alabama Department of Mental Health (ADMH) Hotlines 24/7 at 844-307-1760.

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