March 10 is National Fentanyl Awareness Day. Fentanyl is the #1 cause of death for those aged 18-45, and is tied to about 2/3 of all drug fatalities. While many who are addicted to opioids seek out fentanyl on the “street”, other times fentanyl is included in cocaine, meth and fake prescription pills like hydrocodone and Xanax. It is incumbent on our community to make fentanyl test strips available for those who may buy “street” drugs.
Since fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, it is not included on the standard multi-drug panels in the hospital setting. It is important that local hospitals separately test for fentanyl when ordering a rapid urine drug panel. I have not yet heard that Norwalk or Stamford Hospitals have yet made fentanyl testing automatically included for a urine drug toxicology screen.
Norwalk and Stamford, is there anything we can do to help remove any barriers you face in making fentanyl testing routine in your Emergency Departments?
There is much more information about how hospitals can help at this website: https://www.sdpdatf.org/fentanyl-toolkit (or https://californiaacep.org/page/fentanyltest). Roneet Lev, MD, a San Diego-based ED physician, a tireless advocate for hospital fentanyl testing, and amazing podcast host on Amazing Truths, is the source.