A bill to legalize fentanyl test strips has been approved by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to avert the further opioid crisis in the nation.
The bill was first introduced by a representative of Indiana County in 2019 and reintroduced in 2021. The bill seeks to reduce fentanyl overdoses by making the strips free of legal barriers. Currently, in many parts of the state, the usage and possession of the strips are illegal and might result in penalties.
The legislation aims to raise awareness through the bill by reducing overdoses of opioids rather than penalizing the people experiencing addiction. Even the House Judiciary Committee has approved the bill to deal with the epidemic.
The representative of the state said that Fentanyl, which is a synthetic opioid is one of the major causes of overdose deaths throughout the nation. He even informed that the strip test will only help to control the substance abuse and prevent the next dangerous crisis that would impact the society.
The fentanyl test strips and other testing products are listed under drug paraphernalia, but the bill will get them removed to reduce the number of overdose deaths in the state. The strips are proven to help people assess and reduce their risk of overdose. People should be encouraged to use it to control opioid overdoses. Penalizing the distribution and use of fentanyl strips would only harm society.
Earlier, in May, an attorney general provide a special report that warned fentanyl is the dominant opioid in Pennsylvania. The drug is 50 times more concentrated than heroin and 100 times more concentrated than morphine contributing to a significant rise in overdose deaths. It is also comparatively cheap, making it easily accessible and causing more harm to the communities.
As per the state data, Pennsylvania accounted for 5,224 drug overdose deaths in 2021. The data provided by National Center for Health Statistics log one million overdose deaths throughout the nation since 1999