State Lawmakers Seek to Reduce Fentanyl Overdoses, Increase Penalties for Dealing

    State legislators around the country are looking for ways to reduce overdoses of fentanyl, while increasing penalties for selling the synthetic opioid, the Associated Press reports.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year reported more than 100,000 Americans had died of overdoses in a 12-month period; two-thirds of the deaths were linked to fentanyl and other synthetic substances.

    Some states have enacted or considered laws that legalize fentanyl test strips, which advocates say can help prevent accidental overdoses. West Virginia legislators recently passed a test strip measure, which now awaits action by the governor.

    Other states are focused on criminal penalties for those dealing fentanyl. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 12 states had fentanyl-specific drug trafficking or possession laws as of 2021. At least 19 states have introduced or considered similar measures since the start of 2021, the Associated Press found. In addition, many states have adopted measures to add more synthetic opioids to controlled substance lists to mirror federal law.


    April 2022