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San Francisco startup offers free fentanyl test strips, delivered in 10 minutes

Food delivery startup Food Rocket seeks to help fix the fentanyl crisis by offering free, on-demand fentanyl testing strips to people in San Francisco. | Courtesy of Food Rocket

A hyper-fast food delivery startup will send free fentanyl test strips to anybody in San Francisco—starting Thursday this week.

Delivered in under 15 minutes via the Food Rocket app, the test strips are used to see whether or not a substance contains fentanyl, a deadly synthetic opioid 50 times stronger than heroin

Overdose deaths from accidentally or intentionally ingesting fentanyl are spiking nationally. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, fentanyl is much cheaper and more addictive, so drug traffickers are choosing to cut it into other drugs—like cocaine—or sell pills containing fentanyl that look like other prescription medicines.

Food Rocket’s employees came up with the idea, as its SoMa store is close to the epicenter of San Francisco’s drug crisis.

“We want to support the local community and to be part of the drug battle,” said Food Rocket CEO Vitaly Alexandrov. “Our employees told us that it could make a real difference to people.”

Food Rocket is currently covering the cost of the fentanyl test strips.

In addition to free on-demand fentanyl test strips, Food Rocket also plans to launch delivery of Plan B morning-after pills and HIV test kits—but not for free.

Currently, the food delivery company employs about 200 workers and is now operating in San Francisco and Chicago. It’s raised $30.5 million so far, the majority coming from the convenience store chain Circle K.