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Amid the nation’s fentanyl epidemic, extra states are legalizing drug check strips, however not with out controversy.
In additional than half the nation, fentanyl check strips are thought of unlawful drug paraphernalia. Check strip possession can lead a nice or jail time in lots of states, although enforcement varies.
Ohio lawmakers at the moment are contemplating laws to decriminalize fentanyl check strips.
On Could 19, state Rep. Kristin Boggs testified earlier than the Home Felony Justice Committee in help of Home Invoice 456, which she first launched in October 2021.
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If the invoice turns into legislation, Ohio would be part of a rising listing of states decriminalizing using fentanyl testing strips because the drug continues to wreak havoc.
Governors in New Mexico and Wisconsin this 12 months signed payments permitting check strips in these states, and legislatures in Tennessee and Alabama lately handed related laws.
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Many public well being and dependancy consultants promote the fast testing gadgets as a “harm reduction” tactic to assist stop overdose deaths from illicit medication that customers might not know are laced with fentanyl.
The testing strips are cheap, costing about $1. A drug consumer can take a small amount of a substance, add water and dip a strip briefly into the answer. If one purple stripe seems on the strip, fentanyl is current; two stripes imply none of that drug is discovered.
A draw back is that the check strips do not measure the quantity of fentanyl within the drug.
Nonetheless, the strips are efficient in detecting “very small amounts of fentanyl,” in keeping with Brown College epidemiologist Brandon Marshall.
Whereas there’s proof fentanyl check strips may result in safer drug behaviors, there are nonetheless boundaries to entry. Particularly, there’s confusion about the place the assessments are authorized.
It is clearly authorized to own fentanyl check strips in 22 states, in keeping with a current authorized assessment revealed in Drug and Alcohol Dependence. In 14 states the place drug-checking gear isn’t clearly authorized, it’s lawful when the gear is obtained from a syringe companies program, the assessment discovered.
In April 2021, the Biden administration lifted restrictions on use of federal grant funds for purchasing fentanyl check strips.