Ky. House passes bill to decriminalize fentanyl testing strips

Ky. House passes bill to decriminalize fentanyl testing strips
Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 3:26 PM EST
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - The Kentucky House passed a bill to decriminalize fentanyl testing strips on Wednesday.

House Bill 353 would exclude some testing equipment, like fentanyl strips, from being considered drug paraphernalia.

“353 seeks to solve the problem. Currently, our fentanyl test strips fall under our paraphernalia, and we don’t just want people who are using them and trying to save their lives to be arrested,” said the bill’s primary sponsor, Rep. Kimberly Moser, R-Taylor Mill.

Moser says they’ve seen an increased amount of fentanyl in Kentucky’s illicit drug supply.

According to the 2021 Kentucky Overdose Fatality Report, fentanyl was in nearly 73% of overdose deaths.

“So we know this is a huge problem, we are simply trying to fix one piece of the problem, and we think that if individuals can safely use fentanyl test strips, it will change behavior and save lives,”

According to the bill’s language, if a fentanyl test strip has any residue on it, it will not be a prosecutable offense.

The bill has many supporters. One group, Kentucky Smart on Crime, includes organizations like the ACLU and Volunteers of America Mid-states who say this legislation can prevent overdoses from the synthetic opioid.

“Allowing individuals to have a fentanyl testing strip can help save lives,” said ACLU of Kentucky strategist Kungu Njuguna. “Additionally, the bill will also have educational programs to educate our young folks about the dangers of fentanyl.”

If the bill passes, they will have 90 days to conduct a fentanyl education and awareness campaign. The Cabinet for Health and Family Services will coordinate with the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet to conduct the fentanyl education and awareness campaign according to the bill.