A pilot program to evaluate the use of combination fentanyl-xylazine testing strips has launched this week in the state of Delaware.
The strips, manufactured by Delaware-based SIVAD Diagnostic Medical Group and known under the brand name HarmGuard FX, provide a single, combined test for the presence of fentanyl and xylazine. The 2 substances, in combination, were declared an emerging drug threat by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) in April.
The HarmGuard FX strips can detect both fentanyl and xylazine in various substances, including powders, pills, and residue from bags or cookers. The strips function similarly to existing fentanyl-only test strips, producing results after about 5 minutes.
The introduction of the HarmGuard FX strips are part of SIVAD’s Harm Stopper Program, which provides resources for substance users, community advocates, health professionals, and law enforcement personnel to reduce the harms associated with fentanyl and xylazine. The program includes the use of the test strips, as well as a cloud-based portal that provides education, resources and information at a national level. Additionally, for participating states it uses geolocation services to provide users with access to local resources, such as nearby naloxone distribution locations, needle exchanges, counseling, and emergency services.
SIVAD noted in a news release that Delaware has the nation’s third-highest drug overdose death rate per capita, per data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). SIVAD CEO and President Jermonica Boardley said pilot launched in Delaware could serve as a blueprint for other states to follow as they receive and deploy national opioid settlement funds.
“Delaware is committed to responding to the opioid crisis with the urgency it demands. We know harm reduction strategies work, and this new test provides another useful tool we can use to protect residents and save lives,” Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long, PhD, RN, chair of the Delaware Behavioral Health Consortium, said in the news release. “This pilot program is the epitome of what Delaware does best: boots-on-the-ground outreach, homegrown innovation, and collaborative partnerships.
“I’m thrilled our state will be the first in the nation to distribute these groundbreaking test strips, and we are eager to get these tests out in the community.”