Exploring fentanyl prevalance in New York City

Edison, New Jersey
DOI: 10.18258/14290
Raised of $1,523 Goal
Funded on 10/07/19
Successfully Funded
  • $1,778
  • 116%
  • Funded
    on 10/07/19



Three assistants affiliated with syringe access agencies in New York City will assist in sample collection. 

Although there is no needle stick involvement, these individuals are trained in needle stick prevention. 

Professionally, they conduct syringe clean up and safely dispose of used syringes throughout the City and therefore have been identified as competent and valuable expert resources.

There is absolutely NO safety risk. There is NO human subject involvement.

Assistants will collect bags when conducting regular job duties in uniform, and will have identification from place of employment on hand.

A signed letter from myself, and a copy of the crowdfunding campaign will be provided to them to carry at all times when collecting samples.

The bags collected will be absolutely empty, and not contain anything.

Trace amounts, or particles unseen to the blind eye are what is sought, and being tested (we are essentially examining discarded waste).

Used heroin bags will be collected in New York City and tested for fentanyl.

Wearing protective gloves when collecting the sample will be mandatory.

Sandwich bags will be provided to place the bags in, to avoid cross-contamination. 

Bags will be kept under lock and key until time of analysis. 

In case of emergency, assistants are directed to call the appropriate emergency services.

The researcher will be available by cell phone to assistants throughout the sample collection stage.


There have been over 400 observed or reported heroin labels in New York City, with some enduring years while others being put out of commission overnight. 

The nature of this underground economy is such that it would be improbable to collect and test, and report on all brands.

One possible risk is cross-contamination of the bags, and to overcome this problem all collectors will be provided with sandwich bags that they will place each individual sample in. 

Some samples may be native to certain neighborhoods and not found throughout the City, making generalization to the entire City problematic. To overcome this, assistants have been instructed to take anecdotal notes concerning brands distinctly present in particular neighborhoods. 

Seasonal change may affect the amount of samples collected, as users may be less inclined to use and dispose of their materials in open spaces including parks. 

Pre Analysis Plan

Data will be coded in Stata for analysis.

Bags will be coded by stamp, the number of bags represented by a single distinct stamp, and whether positive for fentanyl, or negative. Inconclusive results will be recorded as such.


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