As overdoses soar, more states decriminalize fentanyl testing strips

Andy Miller, Kaiser Health News

With time running out in the 2022 legislative session, Georgia lawmakers took up a bill to regulate raw milk.

An amendment suddenly got tacked onto the House version of the bill, although the new wording had nothing to do with dairy. The language called for legalizing the use of strips that test drugs for fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid fueling a wave of fatal overdoses across Georgia and the U.S.

The amendment, said Sen. Jen Jordan, an Atlanta Democrat who sponsored it, was “a commonsense solution to save lives.”

The revised milk bill passed overwhelmingly on the last day of the General Assembly session. If the bill doesn’t draw a veto from Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, Georgia will join a growing list of states decriminalizing the use of fentanyl testing strips as the drug’s scourge has spread across the nation.

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Governors in New Mexico and Wisconsin this year signed bills allowing test strips in those states, and legislatures in Tennessee and Alabama recently passed similar legislation. In Pennsylvania, although a state law prohibits test strips, the mayors of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have ordered bans on prosecuting

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