Fentanyl test strips could save lives, New Orleans Health Director says

Updated: May. 4, 2021 at 6:22 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The New Orleans Health Director believes changing a city code could save lives when it comes to drug use.

Dr. Jennifer Avegno wants to purchase fentanyl testing strips.

Under city ordinance, these strips are considered drug paraphernalia which wouldn’t allow Avegno to seek out federal grants to pay for it.

Fentanyl is often pressed into counterfeit pills or mixed with heroin or cocaine.

The CDC says these strips can determine if fentanyl has been mixed in with other drugs without the user knowing.

Dr. Avegno believes these can save lives.

She says drug overdose deaths are on the rise, particularly in the time of the pandemic.

The CDC reports synthetic opioid deaths increased 38.4 percent between 2019 and 2020.

Avegno says accidental drug related deaths were up last year to 365

The New Orleans City Council’s Community Development Committee will meet Tuesday at 10 a.m. to provide an update to COVID-19 vaccinations and the sale and possession of Fentanyl test strips.

Click here to view to agenda for today’s meeting.

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