An increasing number of states are moving to decriminalize fentanyl test strips in an effort to reduce overdose deaths from illicit substances laced with fentanyl, CNN reports.
Georgia legislators recently tacked an amendment onto a bill regulating raw milk, which would legalize use of the test strips. The revised milk bill passed, and will become law if it is not vetoed by Governor Brian Kemp.
This year, governors in New Mexico and Wisconsin have signed into law measures allowing fentanyl test strips. Legislatures in Alabama and Tennessee have recently passed similar bills. While Pennsylvania state law prohibits the strips, the mayors of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have banned prosecuting people who have them. The state’s attorney general says he will not charge people for possessing the test strips.
State health officials in Alaska have begun to distribute free test strips, and a vending machine in Ohio offers the strips along with the opioid overdose antidote naloxone.
“We hope all the states would come to realize the dangers of contamination are so high and that fentanyl test strips empower a person taking drugs to know whether they have fentanyl,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.