Advocates hoping fentanyl testing strips will be a new lifeline for users

Published: Jul. 21, 2023 at 7:36 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -We’ve shared the dangers of fentanyl and families pleading for more awareness. Now, the state is making a tool available that advocates hope offers a new lifeline to users.

Christi Berrong is the founder of the Molly Angel Project, an organization she created after her son’s high school sweetheart died of an overdose. He, too, has struggled with his own addiction.

“I learned a long time ago that telling people that drugs were bad for them, and that they shouldn’t do it,” said Christi Berrong. “If that worked, we wouldn’t have an issue. But it doesn’t work. And so sometimes we have to meet people where they are and give them the tools they need to stay safe and stay alive.”

That’s precisely what she’s done and believes fentanyl testing strips will be another tool to prevent overdoses.

“Anyone who contacts me about Narcan, I’ll go ahead and tell them...look, I have fentanyl testing strips. Some of them are afraid, but I explained that it’s not a problem,” added Berrong. “Now you can carry these, you can use them. And so it’s just kind of becoming a natural part of my distribution process.”

Mississippi-based End It For Good is working to try and change the drug conversation. They view decriminalizing the testing strips as a lifeline for those struggling.

“Having fentanyl testing strips accessible to people is going to save lives,” said End It For Good CEO Brett Montague. “And it’s going to prevent, you know, families from having preventable funerals, which we all want.”

Advocates say the uses can be two-fold, both for young people who may be given a pill and want to know whether it’s laced with the deadly drug and those already facing addiction.

“If we can keep them alive, we have one more day, one more week, one more conversation at the opportunity of getting them into rehabilitation and on the road to leaving a happier, more productive, and thriving life.”

Something to note is that this law was supported by the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics.

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