Skip to main content

Written by: Lucy Connery MPH

Medication for Addiction Treatment and Electronic Referrals (MATTERS) has officially distributed over 10 million test strips across New York State (NYS)! MATTERS launched its fentanyl test strip distribution program in August of 2022 and expanded to offer xylazine test strips in May of 2023 in response to the growing nationwide concerns around xylazine exposure. This service has seen remarkable progress and utilization across the state.


Fentanyl is a highly potent, synthetic opioid that has become a common contaminant in the drug supply across the United States. Fentanyl is about 50 times more potent than heroin and about 100 times more potent than morphine, making it a dangerous substance for people who use drugs (PWUD). For individuals without a tolerance to opioids, exposure to as little as two milligrams of fentanyl can be lethal. Fentanyl is not only found contaminating other opioids; according to the Erie County Department of Health, about 75% of opioid overdoses involved cocaine (a non-opioid) in 2023.


Xylazine is a non-opioid, veterinary sedative that is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in animals. Xylazine is another potent drug that is being added to the U.S. drug supply to lengthen the effects of opioids. However, xylazine is toxic to humans, causing severe skin wounds to those exposed to it. In April of 2023, the Biden-Harris Administration designated xylazine as an emerging threat to the United States.

As a response, MATTERS began distributing xylazine test strips and has since developed a wound care tool kit as a resource for the community.

Celebrating 10 Million Test Strips

As we celebrate the distribution of 10 million test strips, MATTERS would like to thank our statewide partners and stakeholders for making this test strips distribution program a success. This harm reduction and overdose prevention initiative continues to improve access to resources for PWUD. This service would not be possible without the support from the NYS Office of Addiction Services and Supports.

Access free fentanyl and xylazine test strips via MATTERS’ harm reduction vending machines or order supplies to be shipped directly to your home address here.


Erie County Department of Health (2023). Erie County opiate epidemic task force: Quarterly meeting 11.13.2023. Retrieved from: