Para español: aplahealth.org/fentanilo/

Fentanyl is a deadly synthetic opioid that has been found in substances such as heroin, methamphetamine, ecstasy, molly, and other recreational drugs.

The Drug Enforcement Administration found fentanyl-laced substances more than 8,600 times in one six-month period alone. The problem is truly becoming epidemic: 28,400 people died of synthetic opioid overdoses in 2017 alone. At APLA Health, we are very aware of this problem and are responding by offering free testing strips that you can use to determine if fentanyl is present in any substances you might be using.

We can provide you with testing kits and additional information on fentanyl.

Ask any APLA Health employee for confidential assistance.

About Fentanyl

Facts About Fentanyl

  • Fentanyl can lead to addiction.
  • Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are the most common drugs involved in overdose deaths.
  • Illegal fentanyl is being mixed with other drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and MDMA. This is especially dangerous because people are often unaware that fentanyl has been added.
  • Fentanyl works by binding to the body’s opioid receptors, which are found in areas of the brain that control pain and emotions.
  • Its effects include extreme happiness, drowsiness, nausea, confusion, constipation, sedation, tolerance, addiction, respiratory depression and arrest, unconsciousness, coma, and death.
  • The high potency of fentanyl greatly increases risk of overdose, especially if a person who uses drugs is unaware that a powder or pill contains it. They can underestimate the dose of opioids they are taking, resulting in overdose.
  • Naloxone is a medicine that can be given to a person to reverse a fentanyl overdose. Multiple naloxone doses might be necessary because of fentanyl’s potency.

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Reducing Overdose Risk

  • Don’t use alone. Have someone check on you if you like using alone. That way, if you do overdose, someone can intervene.
  • Try a small amount first. Because fentanyl is so strong, a little goes a long way and overdoses can occur quickly, sometimes before you’ve finished injecting the dose.
  • Have an overdose response plan. Having a plan to assist people helps to ensure that an overdose is not fatal.
  • Don’t mix drugs (including alcohol). Fentanyl is a dangerous drug but in combination with other drugs, the risk of overdose is much greater.
  • Learn how to use fentanyl test strips. Knowing what’s in your drugs can help you decide how much and how best to use them.
  • Always carry Narcan/naloxone. Be familiar with the signs of an overdose and be prepared to respond with naloxone, no matter what drug you’re using.

Signs of an Overdose

Severe sleepiness
Cold, slimy skin
Trouble breathing, walking or talking
Slow heartbeat

Addiction Treatment Services

Treatment can help you reduce or eliminate unhelpful and unhealthy behaviors that sustain addiction and substance use. APLA Health offers treatment for drug misuse at multiple locations throughout Los Angeles County, including West Hollywood, Koreatown, Baldwin Hills, and Long Beach.

Some examples of treatment services we provide include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps modify the patient’s drug use expectations and behaviors, and effectively manage triggers and stress
  • Motivational interviewing, which is a patient-centered approach that addresses a patient’s mixed feelings to change
  • Harm reduction, which is helpful for those who do not wish to completely abstain from substances, but instead prefer to reduce frequency and severity of use
  • Group and workshop options
  • Medically-assisted treatment

Contact APLA Health’s Gleicher/Chen Health Center at 323.329.9722 for more information.

How to Use Fentanyl Testing Strips

  1. Fill a cup with approximately two teaspoons of water for testing opioids or 1/2 a cup of water for other substances (methamphetamine, cocaine, MDMA, ketamine). Crush any pills and test residue.
  2. Dissolve a tiny amount of drug powder in the water (similar to as little as a few grains of salt). Do not test shards or pieces. Swirl gently. Alternatively, you can add a small amount of water to an empty baggie to test residue.
  3. Hold the testing strip by the dark blue end. Do not touch the white portion of the strip.
  4. Dip the strip into the water and hold for about 15 seconds. Do not insert beyond the thick blue MAX line.
  5. Place strip down on a flat, non-absorbent surface for five minutes.
    POSITIVE for fentanyl: one colored band.
    NEGATIVE for fentanyl: two colored bands.

Where to Get Fentanyl Testing Strips


The David Geffen Center
611 S. Kingsley Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90005


Gleicher/Chen Health Center
3743 S. La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90016

Education Center
3741 S. La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90016


Long Beach Health Center
1043 Elm Ave., Suite 302
Long Beach, CA 90813


APLA Health – Olympic
5901 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite 310
Los Angeles, CA 90036


Wilshire Dental Clinic
1127 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1504
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Party Wise

APLA Health’s crystal methamphetamine program aims to reduce the opportunities for active methamphetamine using (MSM) men who have sex with men to acquire or transmit HIV through their sexual and drug using behaviors.

The program aims to empower participants to make informed choices and focus on key public health areas through the implementation of Health Navigation Sessions (HNS), thus reducing the social isolation caused by the use of the drug, improving their personal health and that of their larger community.

Health Navigation Sessions are provided in both English and Spanish to promote harm-reduction strategies for gay men who do meth and who are concerned about the negative impact of methamphetamine use in their lives. These sessions are especially for men who are not currently in substance abuse treatment.

For more information, text or call us at 323.736.2008 or email rsediles@apla.org.