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Charleston rehab center seeks funding for Fentanyl test strips

Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 11:01 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston County’s Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services is requesting Charleston County Council approve $10,000 from the state so they can purchase Fentanyl test strips to supply to the community.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid about 100 times stronger than morphine.

Although Fentanyl is nothing new, only in the last few months is the rehab facility, Charleston Center, along with local law enforcement agencies, seeing an increase in this potent drug laced in substances like cocaine or THC.

Caitlin Kratz with the Charleston Center says it doesn’t take much Fentanyl to cause someone to overdose.

“By allowing people to know, hey there might be Fentanyl in your cocaine, might actually save somebody’s life,” Kratz said.

South Carolina DAODAS is giving Charleston County Council $10,000 to purchase the strips. On Thursday the Charleston Center is requesting Charleston County Council approve the funds to purchase Fentanyl test strips.

The test strips allow substance users to test a product before using it. The strip will show either positive or negative for Fentanyl, which is an otherwise difficult drug to notice.

In the last four to six months, the Charleston Center and other law enforcement agencies like the Charleston Police and North Charleston Police Departments are seeing an increase in the drug outside of opioid users.

Kratz says giving the public access to the test strips is not to encourage substance abuse but to help those suffering from addiction.

“This could be such a huge progressive step especially in our community, because it is a very, when you think about it the common thought it why would we supply something that could encourage substance use,” Kratz said. “But it in no way encourages substance use, it keeps those that are currently using safe enough so that we can continue to work to get them into treatment.”

The Charleston County Finance committee meeting will take place at 5 p.m..

If funding is approved, Kratz says they hope to have the strips in office in the next 30 days.

They will then distribute them to community partners and local law enforcement to get the strips into the community.

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