Fentanyl Test Strips (FTS) and Naloxone Training and Distribution

Harm Reduction (n)

Harm reduction refers to a range of public health policies and personal health choices designed to lessen the negative social and/or physical consequences associated with various human behaviors, both legal and illegal.


The Harm Reduction Expansion Project (co-sponsored by The Collegiate Recovery Program and PartySafe@Cal) seeks to expand existing harm reduction information, training and resources to address risks of potential fentanyl contamination. We provide the following for students, staff, faculty and student groups:

  • Low to no cost fentanyl test strips 

  • Naloxone/Narcan 

  • Harm reduction & recovery awareness education and training resources 

  • Leadership to reduce stigma related to substance use in our campus community, that interferes with our capacity to help ourselves and each other 


What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin. Fentanyl can be cut into substances including cocaine, MDMA, heroin, amphetamines and counterfeit pills.

Why should you test your drugs for Fentanyl?


Substances obtained outside of the pharmacy have no guarantee of its contents. In recent drug confiscations, the DEA found that 42% of pills tested for fentanyl contained at least 2mg, a potentially lethal dose. Additionally, mixing Fentanyl with other drugs such as cocaine or sedatives can increase its risk. For example sedatives such as xanax can compound the “downer” effect of fentanyl while uppers such as cocaine can conflict fentanyl’s effect, leading to too much strain on multiple body systems.Testing for Fentanyl is a simple and fast preventative measure that can considerably decrease risk.

A lethal dose of Heroin compared to Fentanyl and its analog Carfentanil.

Heroin, Fentanyl, Carfentnil

What should you know about using Fentanyl test strips?

  • Fentanyl is often distributed unevenly in the bag (aka “the chocolate chip cookie effect”). Best practice is to test everything you plan on consuming, but test at least 10mg (the size of a grain of rice) every time you use from the bag. Vigorously shake the bag before testing to spread around any possible contaminants.
  • For pills or substances you intend to consume orally, crush the entire sample, dissolve in the appropriate amount of water and test it.
  • Test strips are always subject to user error in dilution or interpretation of results. Without sending your sample into a lab there is no 100% guarantee of safety of your substance. So stay safer – never use alone, start off slow, don’t mix unknowns and have naloxone!
  • THESE STRIPS ONLY TEST FOR FENTANYL AND ITS ANALOGS (similar chemicals derived from fentanyl). There are many other substances you may not want to consume! If you want to know exactly what’s in a drug, try a full reagent kit or send it to pill reports.

Follow the drug checking steps exactly

To reduce the margin of error, it is important to use these strips properly. For more detailed instructions check out this Fentanyl Test Strips guide.


  • After shaking the packet, take a rice grain sized sample and put it in a container with a bottle cap or two of water.
  • Dip the wavy blue area at the end of the strip into the water for 15 seconds.
  • Set the strip on a horizontal surface and wait 5 minutes.
  • Two lines (even if one is very faint) – negative One line – positive – have a plan & Narcan.

Results subject to user error in dilution or result interpretation

REMEMBER: A negative result is not a 100% guarantee that your substance is free from synthetic opioids!

Effective dilution rate varies by drug.

  • Fentanyl test strips are capable of detecting 20 ng/ml of fentanyl, but this changes for analogs. To be safer, a more concentrated solution is always recommended.
  • The most effective dilution rate for most drugs is 10mg/ml (50mg for every 5ml or 1tsp of water).
  • Methamphetamine and MDMA need to be diluted more than other drugs because they can produce false positives if they are too concentrated.
  • Meth and MDMA need to be diluted down to 2mg/ml (10mg for every 5ml or 1tsp of water).

To Increase accuracy, weigh your drugs and use measuring spoons you would use for baking

  • 1 US teaspoon is almost exactly 5ml
  • 1 US tablespoon is three teaspoons (15ml)

If you don’t have proper measuring spoons, a standard plastic bottle cap is a bit larger than a teaspoon. If you don’t have a scale, 10mg is around the size of a grain of rice.

What about pressed pills?

  • Crush entire pill into a fine powder
  • Place powder in a cup
  • Dissolve powder in 1-2 tablespoons (around half a shot glass) of water
  • Proceed with step 2 of instructions

Where can I get free fentanyl test strips?

On Campus (Fall 2022)

You can pick up fentanyl test strips at the locations and times listed below. Limit of 3 per person.

  • UHS – Tang Center Pharmacy (fishbowl on the counter) – during open hours
  • 102 Sproul Hall – weekdays from 9-5pm
  • GenEq – during open hours
  • Sproul Plaza table – Tuesdays 11-2pm
  • Eshleman Hall – during open hours
  • Stiles Hall – during open hours

Off Campus

Several organizations and businesses near campus distribute fentanyl test strips to help preserve the security and safety of our community. The Friends of Fentcheck map shows current locations. These establishments have caring people who have been trained and distribute test strips absolutely FREE. If you know an off-campus location that wants to help have them visit Fentcheck’s Get Involved page.

If you are the PRESIDENT and/or RISK MANAGER and/or SIGNATORY for a campus affiliated and/or registered student organization and are interested in acquiring harm reduction training and resources (e.g. Fentanyl Test Strips and Naloxone) for your organization, please read, complete and submit this Interest Form. Someone from our team will be in touch to schedule a consultation with you to clarify your specific interests, needs and next steps.

Please fill out the HREP FTS Feedback Survey to help us improve and guide future pick up locations on campus.


Naloxone is a medication that works almost immediately to reverse opiate overdose. It has few known adverse effects, no potential for abuse, and can be rapidly administered through intramuscular injection or nasal spray. While most professional first responders and emergency departments, including UCPD, are equipped with naloxone, they may not arrive in time to revive overdose victims. Educated and equipped bystanders can effectively take steps to reverse an opioid overdose.

Why Should You Carry Naloxone?

Given the success of naloxone bystander programs, the CDC and the World Health Organization have recommended expanding the availability of naloxone to laypeople.

The amount of time it takes for first responders to arrive on scene can mean a person’s life in the case of an opioid overdose. Carrying naloxone allows civilians to become responsible bystanders and potentially save a life in the event of encountering an opioid overdose.

How Does Naloxone Work?

Naloxone (Narcan)

What is it? Naloxone is a medication that can reverse an overdose that is caused by an opioid drug such as prescription pain medication or heroin.

How Does it Work? When administered during an overdose, naloxone blocks the effects of opioids on the brain and restores breathing within two to eight minutes to prevent death.

Naloxone (Narcan) - what is it & how does it work

When administered during an overdose, naloxone blocks the effect of opioids on the brain and restores breathing within two to eight minutes to prevent death.

How Do You Administer Naloxone?

Signs of possible opioid overdose:

  • Person can’t be woken up
  • Breathing is slow or has stopped
  • Snoring or gurgling sounds
  • Fingernails and lips turn blue or purple
  • Pupils are tiny or eyes are rolled back
  • Body is limp

5 Steps to Respond to An Opioid Overdose

  1. Shout their name & Shake their shoulders
  2. Call 911 if unresponsive
  3. Give naloxone – one spray into nostril
  4. Perform rescue breathing and/or chest compressions
  5. If no improvement after 2-3 minutes, repeat steps 3 & 4. Stay with them.

Recovery Position

If the person begins breathing on their own, or if you have to leave them alone, put them in the recovery position.

  • head should be tilted back slightly to open airway
  • hand supports head
  • knee stops body from rolling onto stomach

5 Steps to Respond to an opioid overdose

(PDF, link is external) 

After administering Naloxone:

Naloxone often works immediately. But depending on the individual’s size and use history, they may need more than 1 or 2 applications. If the person does not recover quickly you may need to perform other life saving strategies such as Hands-OnlyCPR and rescue breathing. Naloxone’s effect lasts for about 30 to 90 minutes in the body. If the naloxone wears off before the effects of the opioids wear off, the person might go into an overdose again. For this reason, it is always very important to call emergency medical assistance even before administering naloxone!

After you administer naloxone, do not leave the individual unattended until you can transfer their care to a medical professional.

Watch this video about How to Use Narcan from the DOPE project.

How Can I Get Naloxone?

Use this link to learn how to administer naloxone and then complete a short quiz. Upon quiz completion, you’ll receive an email with your Naloxone Training Confirmation which you can show to pick up a naloxone kit at the following times & locations. This free naloxone is available to UHS-PartySafe@Cal and the Collegiate Recovery Program through the CDPH Naloxone Distribution Project.

Fall 2022:
Wednesdays 1-5pm @ 102 Sproul, Tuesdays 11-2pm @ Sproul Plaza

Can I get in trouble if I call 911 on someone’s behalf if I’m also using substances?

California has a 911 Good Samaritan Law (CA Civil Code Section 1714.22 (link is external)) protects you from arrest, charge, and prosecution when you call 911 at the scene of a suspected drug overdose. Nobody at the scene should be charged for personal amounts of drugs or paraphernalia. This law does not protect you if:

  • You are on parole/probation; it is likely still a violation
  • You have more drugs than “possession for personal use”; it is still illegal to have any amount that would suggest trafficking or sales
  • You “obstruct medical or law enforcement personnel”; it is still important to not intervene with the activities of police or emergency personnel.

UC Berkeley has a Responsible Bystander Policy to encourage students to seek medical assistance for peers in need and prioritize student safety across campus. A student or registered student group (RSO) promptly seeking necessary medical assistance on behalf of a student experience an alcohol or controlled substance emergency will be exempt from the form Student Conduct processes concerning alcohol and controlled substances (102.17 and 102.18)


On Campus

Online/Off Campus


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