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Clinical Advisory

Clinical Advisory Opioid Testing Advisory

Date: 06/14/2019
Organization: Bureau of Health Professions Licensure
Bureau of Substance Addiction Services
Referenced Sources: Clinical Advisory on Opioid Deaths

Table of Contents

Public Health Advisory June 2019

DPH recently became aware that in May 2019 some cases of new synthetic opioids distributed through the illicit drug market did not test positive for fentanyl or heroin, as would typically be expected.

Key messages:

  • Care providers and people who use drugs should be aware that fentanyl testing will not always detect the presence of non-fentanyl opioids in the illicit supply.
  • Treatment providers should take this into account when assessing people for treatment and not rely on drug testing alone to determine eligibility for treatment.
  • The drug supply is erratic and unpredictable. Sometimes other substances such as methamphetamine and cocaine are contaminated with opioids that can cause overdose.
  • People using drugs should use in the presence of other people who are equipped with naloxone and able to respond to an opioid overdose to reduce the risk of dying from overdose.

Naloxone should reverse overdoses from heroin, fentanyl, prescription opioids and other synthetic opioids if administered in time.

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