USC students tackling fentanyl crisis, providing students with testing strips

Illicit drug use on college campuses is hardly new… but when those drugs are laced with fentanyl, a little youthful experimentation can be fatal.

Some University of Southern California students took it upon themselves to protect what they call the ‘naïve drug user’.

In 2019, nine USC students overdosed. A year later students created a non-profit aimed at educating and protecting students.

Fentanyl testing strips are available for a penny on the USC delivery service Duffle.

The strips are provided by a nonprofit student group called Trojan Awareness Combating Overdose, also known as TACO.  

The goal of the group is to combat opioid overdoses through fentanyl testing strips.

Maddie Hilliard, a USC computational neuroscience grad, was moved by the number of students who overdosed while she was in school.

"Throughout my time at USC my freshman year, my sophomore year, my junior year there, we were seeing 11 to 12 deaths each year," stated Hilliard who is the CEO of TACO.

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The strip includes instructions for use and how to anonymously report positive test results.

Since TACO was created Hilliard says no USC students have overdosed. 

TACO also operates on other campuses including UCLA, UC Santa Barbara and UC Berkeley.

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