A grid map of where to get fentanyl test strips and Narcan at bars in the Mission District.
A map of which Mission District bars stock Narcan, generically known as the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone. Map designed by Will Jarrett.

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The Mission is one of the top neighborhoods where accidental overdoses occur. While accidental overdoses can happen in the street or in people’s homes, several bartenders and patrons say overdoses sometimes happen in bars or clubs — and that having Narcan nearby reversed a fatal consequence. Here’s where to find, and tips on how to use, potentially life-saving resources like fentanyl test strips and naloxone in the neighborhood.

Read why Mission bars and Bay Area organizations are stocking up on fentanyl test strips and naloxone. And, why some have yet to add what one doctor calls ” the latest and greatest,” in helping to save lives.

Mission bars that have fentanyl test strips and Narcan

Reported on by Griffin Jones and Annika Hom. Map designed by Will Jarrett.

*Some establishments expressed interest in procuring resources in the future, or have yet to respond. Mission Local will update this map if necessary.

Where else to get fentanyl test strips

  • Reach out to the Department of Public Health if you are a school, business, or other organization that wishes to partner and collect resources like Narcan or test strips. 

If you are a business interested in purchasing fentanyl test strips, the nonprofit FentCheck sells strips and offers to supply strips to interested organizations. You can also donate to the FentCheck.

Where to get Narcan

  • Community Behavioral Health Services at 1380 Howard St. near Natoma Street offers free fentanyl testing strips and naloxone doses.  

Download a PDF of this here.

How to use fentanyl test strips, via the CDC

  • According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
    • Measure out roughly 10 mg — one-sixteenth of a teaspoon —  of your drug. (If it is a powdered drug, use it as-is. If it’s a pill, crush it up.) 
    • Put it in a clean container and mix with a half-teaspoon of water; if it’s a methamphetamine, mix it with a teaspoon of water. 
    • Place the wavy end of the strip in the mixture for about 15 seconds. 
    • Lay the strip down on a flat surface for 2 to 5 minutes. 
    • Read the results. 
  • Reading the results: Two bars on the strip indicates a negative result. One bar indicates the substance tested positive for fentanyl.
Visual designed by Chuqin Jiang.

Potential limitations

  • In some instances, fentanyl test strips can produce false positives, according to some studies.
    • Alison Heller of FentCheck, a Bay Area nonprofit that distributes fentanyl test strips, said the group’s strips have “no known” false positives when testing meth, MDMA (molly or ecstasy) or pills.  
  • In rare cases, fentanyl test strips may produce a false negative, but only when the strip is not interacting with a part of the batch that is laced. Dr. Daniel Ciccarone, a professor of addiction medicine at University of California, San Francisco, said to be especially wary when testing counterfeit pills because of the “chocolate chip cookie effect,” where fentanyl, like chocolate chips, might be disbursed in different parts of the pill. A false negative rarely occurs if the strip interacts with a non-compromised part of the pill, which is why crushing it up is encouraged. 
  • If someone wishes to take a pill, Ciccarone advises to buy two and test one of them before taking the other. 
Screenshot of the “chocolate chip cookie” effect. Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How to use Narcan nasal spray, via Narcan

  • It is highly recommended that you take a training course before you use Narcan on an individual and you learn to recognize when someone is overdosing. 
  • If you are sure a person is overdosing, call 911 immediately. This person needs medical care.  
  • Lay the person on their back. 
  • Open the Narcan package using the tab at the back with the circle on it. 
  • Put your middle and index finger on the side of the nozzle, and place your thumb on the red plunger at the bottom.
  • Tilt the person’s head back and put the nozzle up inside one nostril, until your fingers are at the base of the person’s nose.
  • Press the plunger firmly up the nose. 
  • See Narcan’s steps and visual instructions here
Created by Chuqin Jiang

Rules of thumb when buying/using, via a doctor and CDC

  • Generally, drugs purchased on the street have a higher risk of being laced.
  • Research and educate yourself on your supplier.
  • Ciccarone said he would not trust any pills on the market without testing them first. 
  • Test your drugs if you are unsure.
  • Just because you bought it and it was fine once, doesn’t mean it will again. Don’t play “Russian Roulette,” Ciccarone says.
  • Avoid mixing drugs, and never use alone.

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REPORTER. Annika Hom is our inequality reporter through our partnership with Report for America. Annika was born and raised in the Bay Area. She previously interned at SF Weekly and the Boston Globe where she focused on local news and immigration. She is a proud Chinese and Filipina American. She has a twin brother that (contrary to soap opera tropes) is not evil.

Follow her on Twitter at @AnnikaHom.

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  1. How about showing us the map of detox centers, drug treatment centers, and other drug rehab services in the Mission? If they don’t exist, we should be demanding that from the city. How about informing the public about how two undocumented immigrants who were charged with and confessed to selling lethal drugs like fentanyl were allowed to walk away scot-free recently? We have gotten very used to living in a city where people routinely pass out and die from drugs on our streets but we should remember that the state of our city in terms of drug use is not normal. Let’s not get too comfortable with it.

  2. Walked down San Jose Ave near 25th at 8am this morning to see a fire truck, SFFD ambulance, and around eight firefighters/paramedics trying to resuscitate a man sleeping in a doorway using a chest compression machine. A few minutes later, they called it and placed a yellow sheet over his body. I can only speculate that this was an overdose, but it was a sad situation.

  3. Was cycling south on Folsom towards 15th yesterday when I saw someone passed out face down in a parking space near the FoodCo loading dock as i zipped by. Got home 2 min later and phoned 911 and told ’em to bring the narcan.

  4. Don’t count on the fent strip dispensers at the bar. This being the place it is – the bar I went for a few beers last week had the thing missing. I imagine ripped off the bathroom wall and taken some other place.