As we embark on a fresh new year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will see new laws take effect including House Bill 1393 which will, according to Governor Tom Wolf, amend the current law on the books to enable fentanyl test strips to no longer be considered drug paraphernalia.
This is a huge step forward in the fight against drug overdoses as these strips enable an individual to use them to detect the presence of fentanyl, which is 80 – 500 times more potent than morphine according to American Addiction Centers, in certain drugs.
If it is detected, the user can then choose to not take that drug and possibly avoid serious medical problems – or even death. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH), in 2021, fentanyl was involved in the majority of the 5,343 overdoses that resulted in death in Pennsylvania.
The DOH also says that the test strips are inexpensive and work on a variety of drugs including heroin, meth, and cocaine. Further, they say the strips work on different forms of drugs including pills, powders and injectables.
Fentanyl test strips are another effective method of harm reduction which may also include drug treatment programs, opioid substitute programs and syringe services programs or SSPs. For more information on the fight against drug addiction, please see www.pa.gov/opioids.