CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) — After an unusually high number of reports of street drugs, have come back positive for Fentanyl, Iowa Harm Reduction Coalition is urging drug users to test it before they take it.
Iowa Harm Reduction Coalition (I.H.R.C.) is an advocacy group that focuses on keeping drug users alive. They provide medical care to promote safety.
Now the group has issued a public safety announcement on Facebook, after they say an usually high number of drug test kits indicate Fentanyl, more commonly found in Heroin, is popping up in non-opioid street drugs.
I.H.R.C. Executive Director, Sarah Ziegenhorn said, “Fentanyl has crept into other drugs in the state like meth, like cocaine, like xanax. So when people go and purchase those drugs unknown to them, it could be in there.”
That’s why I.H.R.C. is urging Iowans to test it before they take it. The organization provides free fentanyl test kits to those who wish to be cautious with the unregulated drugs they’re taking.
“Our primary goal is to help people stay alive and continue to survive, no matter what their relationship is with drugs on any given day,” said Ziegenhorn.
I.H.R.C serves more than 4,000 people across Iowa from Iowa City to Cedar Rapids, keeping people safe so they can seek treatment.
“Once people understand if there is fentanyl in their drugs, it allows them to make a rational decision, how much of the drug do they take, do they take it at all?,” said Ziegenhorn.
Since 2017, more than 700 people have been saved thanks to I.H.R.C. resources, like its free overdose rescue kits.
The kits are similar to the more commonly known Narcan according to Harm Reduction Program Manager, Nick Sparr.
“For someone who overdoses on fentanyl, heroin, prescription painkillers. They can use this to reverse that overdose… and it saves their life,” said Sparr.
“We’re encouraging people to make positive changes in their life, that can contribute to improving their health. and what could be better than improving your health other than making a choice to stay alive, and to be careful and cautious. just in the same way people a seat belt on when you enter a car or put a helmet on when they ride a bike,” said Ziegenhorn.
The alert was also for the Independence area, where multiple batches of drugs were positive for fentanyl.
I.H.R.C. will also mail test kits, more information about that can be found here.
Drug testing kits can also be purchased online, through Dance Safe, according to Ziegenhorn.
IHRC uses self-reported data, that people report after using the test kits provided. Information about that can be found on its website.
According to Cedar Rapids Public Safety coordinator, Greg Buelow, the police department is aware of the increase in fentanyl in street drugs. However, at this time they have yet to come across fake xanax pills.