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Dancesafe's new fentanyl test strip is yellow
Photo Credit: DanceSafe's website

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DanceSafe releases significantly improved fentanyl test strips

Harm reduction organization DanceSafe announced in October that they had soft launched new and improved fentanyl test strips at the National Harm Reduction Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico. These strips were a huge hit at the conference because these are the first test strips that don’t trigger false-positive results when testing for fentanyl in drugs like MDMA, methamphetamine, methadone, and cocaine that has been cut with levamisole/lidocaine. DanceSafe have now released the finalized version of the product, available for purchase on their site and for distribution to other harm reduction organizations.

DanceSafe was founded by Emanuel Sferios in the San Francisco Bay area to provide education and resources to ravers. The organization offers a variety of harm reduction services at nightlife events across the United States, from education to drug testing. They also hand out essential items like free condoms, earplugs and tools to prevent blood-borne disease transmission. According to data from the CDC, there’s been a significant rise in the transmission of blood-borne diseases because of the opioid crisis. These diseases range from bacteria that causes heart infections, to HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

Emanuel Sferios and DanceSafe have been involved in a number of initiatives to protect ravers. In 2015, Sferios met with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy alongside Dede and Rob Goldsmith, to petition the government to Amend the RAVE Act (ATRA). The Goldsmiths’ daughter Shelley died of heat stroke after consuming MDMA in 2013, and her mother Dede started ATRA in recognition of the harm that the RAVE act legislation has caused. Earlier this year, DanceSafe and Good Night Out Vancouver collaborated with GRiZ on the “Harmony Project”  initiative – because everyone going to electronic music events deserves to have a safe space to express themselves.

The new test strips were developed by WHPM, who reached out to DanceSafe to partner on the testing and release. WHPM is a privately held corporation that was established in 1993, based in California. They produce “high quality rapid test systems that have not only revolutionized the pharmaceutical industry, but have also set new industry standards and guidelines.” WHPM develops and manufactures their own antibodies based on their in-house developed clones. This allows them to ensure: lot to lot uniformity; a reliable supply chain and competitive pricing. As DanceSafe’s fentanyl test strip brochure has illustrated, it makes quite a difference in quality is made when a company develops their own antibodies in-house – rather than using

Picture comparing the old Assuretech strip and the new WHPM strip. Dancesafe's new strip is yellow, the old one is blue.

Photo Credit: an excerpt from DanceSafe’s fentanyl test strip brochure

DanceSafe’s previous Assuretech strips are blue, while the new WHPM-produced strips are yellow. It’s extremely important to note which strip you are using to test. The instructions for the BTNX and DanceSafe’s new strips are very different. Even though DanceSafe will not sell the Assuretech strips, they have promised to continue to provide support for BTNX and their customers through brochures and technical support.

The first 100,000 fentanyl test strips that are launching today will be light blue and be contained in white label packaging, meaning they won’t have the DanceSafe design on the packages. The light blue strips work exactly the same as the yellow strips.

DanceSafe assures DMNW they have marked up the price of strips just enough to cover costs so harm reduction organizations can purchase the new strips in bulk for a staggeringly low price of 45 cents each. According to Sferios, DanceSafe’s former contract with BTNX did not allow them to sell the Assuretech strips for less than $1. If your organization has not yet signed up for wholesale pricing, register here. Only businesses and institutions are eligible for wholesale status, not individuals.

DanceSafe is set to receive the first order of 1M strips between the end of November and first week of December. Larger wholesale reseller and non-profit orders are expected to ship once DanceSafe receives the aforementioned order from WHPM. Nonprofits and social service agencies can pre-order them now by emailing DanceSafe at “wholesale@dancesafe.org”.

DanceSafe’s site now has a “fentanyl” landing page that can be accessed here. This landing page and their introductory brochure do a fantastic job at explaining how the immunoassay test strip industry operates and what can be done to improve it. DanceSafe outlines their methodology for confirming that “no false positives” occur with substances known to trigger them in the Rapid Response strips. The strips were studied on a number of fronts, including DanceSafe’s own field testing, a commissioned study performed at Kara Lynch’s lab at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), and a research collaboration with Marya Lieberman’s lab at University of Notre Dame.

The new-and-improved Fentanyl test strips can be purchased on their website here. DanceSafe has requested that people using the test strips keep them in the loop, especially if there are new substances that are triggering false positives.

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