What Are Fentanyl Test Strips – And How Do I Use Them?

Image of drug test strips

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that fentanyl test strips (FTS) are an inexpensive, easy-to-use method to test for the presence of the powerful, illicit opioid fentanyl in a variety of drugs. We’ll get into the details on fentanyl in a moment, but first it’s important to understand why fentanyl test strips exist in the first place: to prevent or reduce the chances of fatal overdose.

In 2024, fentanyl is almost everywhere in the illicit drug supply – not just in illicit opioids. Drugs that may contain fentanyl include, but are not limited to:

The presence of fentanyl in any of these drugs significantly increases risk of fatal overdose. Fentanyl test strips allow people who use drugs to test the drugs they may take for the presence of fentanyl. If fentanyl is present, they can prevent overdose by not taking the substance that tested positive for fentanyl.

Where to Find Fentanyl Test Strips

Find information about fentanyl test strips at the CDC Fentanyl Test Strip Page and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Fentanyl Test Strip Page.

To find fentanyl test strips to test illicit drugs, use these resources:

Fentanyl test strips are inexpensive – about a dollar per strip. They’re often sold in packs of 6 or 12, with costs varying by manufacturer and quantity. A pack of six may cost just over six dollars, while a pack of 100 may cost around 85 dollars.

How to Use Fentanyl Test Strips: Video

Using fentanyl strips is simple and easy. If you or someone you love uses opioids or other drugs that may contain fentanyl (see list above), please watch the video below: it may prevent you or a loved one from taking a substance with a very high risk of fatal overdose:

If you have questions or concerns about using fentanyl test strips, please call us at any time, or visit our contact page, fill out our form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Why is Fentanyl So Dangerous – And How Can Fentanyl Test Strips Help?

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) maintains an online fentanyl facts and awareness resource called One Pill Can Kill. While that name may sound like an inflammatory scare tactic, it’s not. When you read the facts about fentanyl, you understand why they DEA – and anyone working in drug enforcement, drug treatment, or drug use prevention – make such a big deal out of fentanyl.

It’s true: one pill can kill.


Two reasons.

First, its potency:

  • 50 times more powerful than heroin
  • 100 times more powerful than morphine
  • One dose can cause an overdose

Second, where it’s found:

  • Drug cartels manufacture counterfeit pills, then sell them as genuine medications
  • The fake pills contain fentanyl, and each one has the potential to cause a fatal overdose
  • It’s easy to find fake (illicit) prescription medication online
  • Cartels design fake pills to look exactly like the real prescription pills

To see side-by-side pictures of real/fake medication, click the DEA “One Pill Can Kill” link. The takeaway from the DEA is clear:

There’s a very real chance of finding fentanyl in any illicitly produced pill available on the black market or through illegal websites – and one pill is enough to cause a fatal overdose. A fentanyl test strip can prevent someone who uses drugs from accidentally ingesting fentanyl. 

That sounds scary and should be. Fentanyl is dangerous. Here’s the latest data from the DEA and the CDC.

Fentanyl Seizures and Fatal Overdose

  • 2023 DEA Data:
    • DEA seized over 78 million pills containing fentanyl
    • DEA seized close to 12,000 pounds of fentanyl powder
    • The 2023 seizures contained close to 400 million lethal doses of fentanyl
  • CDC Data, Fatal overdose involving synthetic opioids:
  • 2017: 28,659
  • 2018: 31,525
  • 2019: 36,603
  • 2020: 56,894
  • 2021: 71,143
  • 2022: 74,789

That’s a 160 percent increase over six years, with a staggering 55 percent increase identified between 2019 and 2020. The impact of fentanyl on the opioid and overdose crisis has been devastating, and experts consider fentanyl a primary driver of the opioid overdose crisis. If you or someone you love uses opioids, please help them consider treatment, and if they won’t consent to treatment, please encourage them to consider using fentanyl test strips to reduce their chance of fatal drug overdose.

The materials provided on the Pinnacle Blog are for information and educational purposes only. No behavioral health or any other professional services are provided through the Blog and the information obtained through the Blog is not a substitute for consultation with a qualified health professional. If you are in need of medical or behavioral health treatment, please contact a qualified health professional directly, and if you are in need of emergency help, please go to your nearest emergency room or dial 911.