Greg interviews Iqbal Sunderani, the CEO and Founder of BTNX, Inc, a biotechnology company that has developed a Rapid ResponseTM Drug Test Strip that can be used to test for fentanyl in drugs like heroin. Greg also speaks with Van Asher, who is the syringe access program manager at St. Ann’s Corner of Harm Reduction in Bronx, NY.
Greg asks both Iqbal and Van about how users can employ these strips to protect themselves from overdosing. Iqbal explains that an individual only needs to mix leftover drug residue with a few drops of water before dipping the testing strip inside. “My understanding is, they have this little cooker, which they use to heat up the heroin and then they pour that amount into the syringe. And because our tests are really sensitive they then put a few drops of distilled water in the cooker and just swirl it around. Then they dip our test into that solution. And they’re sensitive enough to pick up small traces of fentanyl that would remain still in the cooker. Then that would tell the individual if what they’re consuming is positive or not.” Van further explains that they are now encouraging dealers, as well as users, to employ these strips in testing their drugs to stop the mixing at its source. “What we’d like to do, is if people have good relationships with their dealers, provide their dealers with strips so they can test their product. Then if it tests positive for fentanyl they can then go to who they purchased it from and say ‘hey, do you know this is in it?’”
Listen to the podcast to discover how these test strips are being utilized in trials to monitor how their role in prevention not only protects users, but aids communities in saving money as well as lives.
Van Asher and Evelyn Milan speak on the dangers of fentanyl in the video below.