Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid so potent that a miniscule amount equivalent to several grains of salt can cause a fatal overdose. Yet it’s difficult for people who use drugs to detect, which presents a major public health hazard given how commonly fentanyl is used to lace heroin or cocaine.
In 2017, the Brown team of researchers, including Jacqueline Goldman, an Epidemiology master’s student, Brandon Marshall, Associate Professor of Epidemiology, provided rapid-acting fentanyl test strips to young adults in Rhode Island at risk of overdosing. In October 2018, the researchers reported that most of the young adults not only used the strips, but also reported changing their behavior to reduce overdose risk if they detected fentanyl. Read more.