City to provide drug test tools to fight fentanyl overdoses

Amid the rising presence of fentanyl in Montana, Missoula leaders support the provision of fentanyl test strips in the city.

The amount of fentanyl seized in Montana increased more than nine times between 2020 and 2021. Then, in the first two quarters of 2022, it almost doubled again. That’s according to the Montana Department of Justice. Fentanyl test strips can detect the presence of fentanyl in other drugs. The extremely potent opioid has been frequently added to other illicit drugs.

The impacts of fentanyl’s growing presence are creating “devastating consequences,” Michael Layeux told the Missoula City Council Wednesday. Layeux is an addictions studies adjunct instructor at the University of Montana and president of the Missoula chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

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28 non-fatal and eight fatal overdoses occurred in 13 different Montana counties, including Missoula, from Jan. 11 to Jan. 23.

With these statistics in mind, the Missoula City Council unanimously supported a measure that would put Janssen opioid settlement money toward providing fentanyl test strips publicly for Missoulians.

The Missoula area will receive approximately $223,000 from the settlement in the first year, and approximately $150,000 each year for the

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