SIVAD Diagnostic Medical Group, a minority-owned company dedicated to underserved and unserved communities in the US, has launched its HarmGuard FX test strip in Delaware.

HarmGuard FX is a single, low-cost test strip that enables testing of substances for fentanyl and xylazine to help reduce deaths due to drug overdose.

Xylazine is a non-opioid tranquillizer that is primarily used as a sedative, analgesic, and muscle relaxant in large animals and has emerged as an adulterant in recreational drugs.

Fentanyl and xylazine, individually, or in combination can cause severe respiratory depression, which leads to a shortage of oxygen, brain damage, or even death.

According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) recent report, fentanyl and xylazine are found in nearly a quarter of drugs sampled from 48 out of 50 states.

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that the deaths involving xylazine increased by 1,238%, between 2018 and 2021.

In addition, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy has designated the fentanyl plus xylazine combination as an emerging threat to the US.

SIVAD CEO and president Jermonica Boardley said: “SIVAD developed our Harm Stopper Program to provide comprehensive resources that can reduce the harm of fentanyl and xylazine for substance users.

“We commend Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long for making Delaware the first state to pilot HarmGuard FX and are collaborating with Delaware health officials spearheaded by Susan Holloway to implement a pilot program that could serve as a blueprint for other states seeking to prevent overdose deaths.

“As other states receive and deploy funds from the National Opioids Settlement, we hope to work with them to implement HarmGuard FX and our Harm Stopper Portal as part of their harm-reduction strategies.”

HarmGuard FX test, a lateral flow immunoassay designed for forensic use, has been validated by a US-based FDA-registered testing lab.

The test rapidly detects both fentanyl and xylazine in several substances, including powders, pills, or residue from baggies or cookers.

It requires a small sample of the substance, mixed with water, which the test strip dipped into for 15 seconds, and takes five minutes to produce the results.

Furthermore, SIVAD has added the HarmGuard FX test strip and the cloud-based, AI-driven Harm Stopper Portal to its Harm Stopper Programme.