Fentanyl and Xylazine Test Strips: Fact or Fiction?

Monday, May 20, 2024 1 pm to 2 pm


Training Sessions


The illicit opioid drug supply, at this point, consists largely of fentanyl and its analogues. Very little of purported non-fentanyl opioids are truly free of fentanyl, despite them being presented as oxycodone, morphine, oxymorphone, or even “heroin”. Even non-opioids, such as street-sourced alprazolam and methamphetamine are very often contaminated with fentanyl. This poses a high risk to persons using drugs that are intentionally trying to avoid fentanyl, to the point of unintended overdose. Additionally, a newer trend is for street-sourced fentanyl to be contaminated with a non-opioid veterinary tranquilizer called xylazine, which can cause prolonged sedation and severe skin damage. Drug consumers who may seek a fentanyl supply are uniformly looking to avoid xylazine because of these issues. The field now has drug-checking technology in the form of fentanyl test strips and xylazine test strips, which are given directly to persons who use drugs, so that they may test a small portion of their supply for substances that they are not intending to consume. Ultimately, this technology can prevent oversedation, brain damage, severe skin damage, and even death. This presentation will explain how to test drugs and what the limitations and expectations of drug-checking technology are.


  • Recognize current drug trends that make access to drug-checking technology essential
  • Describe the process of drug-checking and understand the limitations of drug-checking
  • Be comfortable enough with the process of drug-checking to describe this process to clients at risk of problematic drug outcomes



The University of Pittsburgh designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


A maximum of 1.0 nursing contact hours will be awarded. Participants will be able to claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the program.


As a Jointly Accredited Organization, University of Pittsburgh is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved under this program. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. University of Pittsburgh maintains responsibility for this course. Social workers completing this course receive 1.0 continuing education credits.

Psychologist (APA)

Continuing Education (CE) credits for psychologists are provided through the co-sponsorship of the American Psychological Association (APA) Office of Continuing Education in Psychology (CEP). The APA CEP Office maintains responsibility for the content of the programs.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $300,000 with 100% funded by HRSA/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA/HHS, or the U.S. Government.

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