Dr Rachel Sutherland presented at the NDARC Webinar Series on Thursday 11 August 2022.
This webinar shared results of a pilot study of feasibility and consumer acceptability of take-home fentanyl test strips.
Illicitly manufactured fentanyl and its analogues are high-potency synthetic opioids that are lethal at much lower doses than other opioids and have contributed to tens of thousands of deaths in North America.
Australia has not yet witnessed the same magnitude of fentanyl-related overdoses, however it is of critical importance that we be prepared to respond should similar trends start to emerge.
One strategy that has been utilised in North America is the provision of take-home fentanyl test strips, so that people can test their substance/s for the presence of fentanyl and/or fentanyl analogues.
This project provided take-home fentanyl test strips to ~80 people who use heroin and followed them up four weeks later to measure uptake, consumer acceptability and behavioural outcomes associated with use of the strips.
Given the exclusion of people who use heroin from the current Australian drug checking debate, the secondary aim of this project was to explore support for other drug-checking mechanisms to test for the purity and/or contents of substances.
About the speaker
Dr Rachel Sutherland is a Senior Research Fellow at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales and currently holds a National Health and Medical Research Council Investigator Fellowship (2021-2025). Her program of research is focused on monitoring systems for detecting trends in illicit drug use, including new psychoactive substances, and developing and evaluating novel responses to emerging drugs of concern.