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Maine, Mass. police departments to receive fentanyl testing strips

These new tests come in an effort to decrease fatal drug overdoses in the states
Credit: AP

Fentanyl test kits will be distributed to six Maine police departments in an effort to stop the rising number of fatal drug overdoses in the state. 

The test strips will be given to people in Westbrook, South Portland, Biddeford, Kennebunk, Augusta, and Winthrop who use drugs that could be laced with the powerful synthetic opioid. 

According to the Press Herald, local and state officials say the strips are a harm reduction tool that can be used in tandem with other resources to try to prevent overdoses while making referrals to recovery programs.

These communities are among the 19 agencies in Maine and Massachusetts chosen to participate in the One2One: Engagement to Recovery program by the Police Assisted Addiction & Recovery Institute, a nonprofit organization that aims to help law enforcement agencies create non-arrest pathways to treatment and recovery. 

The following departments will receive the tests:

Like many other states, Maine has seen a sharp rise in overdoses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first monthly report for January 2021 found 58 Maine people died of confirmed or suspected overdoses during the month, which is attributed to an increased availability of lethal opioids, predominantly fentanyl, which was found to be present in nearly 70 percent of confirmed overdose deaths in January.