Fentanyl test strips (FTS) can prevent overdose by identifying unknown fentanyl-laced drugs. We measured FTS use amongst people who inject drugs (PWID) in San Francisco.
Data were from a cross-sectional survey of PWID in 2018, recruited by respondent-driven sampling. Participants were asked about FTS use in the last 12 months.
Of 458 PWID surveyed, 45.4% had used an FTS in the last 12 months. FTS use was higher among PWID younger in age (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 0.97 per year, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.95-0.98), witnessing overdose (AOR 2.40, 95% CI 1.36-4.23), currently owning naloxone (AOR 2.92, 95% CI 1.76-4.87), and receiving overdose training (AOR 1.62, 95% CI 1.04-2.51). FTS use was lower among Black/African Americans (AOR 0.56, 95% CI 0.34-0.93). Amongst FTS users, 80.2% had a positive result, of whom 43.4% did not change their use of the drug, 26.5% abstained from using it, and 30.1% used a lower dose.
Efforts to promote the use of FTS may have reached under half of PWID in San Francisco. Avenues need to be found to increase the role of FTS as a harm reduction approach to prevent overdose, particularly for older and Black/African American PWID.
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