Law Enforcement and Community Provision of Fentanyl Test Strips to People Who Use Drugs for Engagement and Referral to Services

J Public Health Manag Pract. 2022 Nov-Dec;28(Suppl 6):S343-S346. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000001576.


Use of fentanyl test strips (FTS) to test illicit drugs has been shown to be an effective harm-reduction tool for raising awareness of fentanyl risks, increased self-efficacy to prevent overdose, and safer use behavior changes. From March to June 2020, a total of 6 Massachusetts municipal police departments piloted FTS kit distribution during post-overdose outreach visits, community outreach, and related programming. The Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative developed the kits, trained departments, and oversaw implementation. The pilot evaluation involved site observations, process measures, and interviews with staff and kit recipients. For every kit distributed, there was approximately 1 health or support service or referral provided; 320 kits were distributed. Key themes from interviews were conceptualizing FTS as a tool, collaborations, and adaptations. Police departments that partnered with community programs amplified project reach. FTS distribution is a simple yet powerful tool that community providers and police can offer alongside linkage to care services and engagement with people who use drugs and their family and friends.

MeSH terms

  • Drug Overdose* / prevention & control
  • Fentanyl / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs*
  • Law Enforcement
  • Referral and Consultation


  • Illicit Drugs
  • Fentanyl