A invoice that would no more time classify fentanyl examination strips as unlawful paraphernalia was superior out of the Pennsylvania Property on Monday. 

Originally launched by Indiana County Rep. Jim Struzzi in 2019 and reintroduced in 2021, the bill seeks to lower fentanyl overdoses by eradicating legal boundaries about examination strip use. At the moment, lots of areas of the state criminalize making use of the exam strips and possession can carry critical penalties. 

Decriminalizing fentanyl examination strips is another kind of harm-reduction. Fairly than punishing those encountering habit, the legislation aims to minimize overdoses by increasing recognition of the hazards of managed substances and giving sources to users.

The invoice gained unanimous acceptance from the Household Judiciary Committee in May well, location the stage for bipartisan support of Struzzi’s long-awaited legislation. 

“Fentanyl is one of the foremost causes of overdose fatalities, and virtually fifty percent of our states have taken this course of action for persons who are in the grip of addiction,” reported Struzzi. “I am also happy to see the invoice was amended to broaden the definition of ‘testing merchandise,’ as we foresee the upcoming wave of hazardous, managed substances that could however impact our culture.” 

The invoice would fully remove fentanyl exam strips and other tests solutions from the list of classifying drug paraphernalia, in an effort to lower the quantity of overdose deaths in the condition and help people making use of opioids to be designed knowledgeable of the volume of fentanyl observed in their substances. 

If passed, the definition of “drug paraphernalia” would not involve “testing products and solutions used for individual use in deciding no matter whether a controlled compound incorporates chemical substances, harmful substances or dangerous compounds in quantities which can cause actual physical damage or death.” 

In May possibly, Attorney Normal Josh Shapiro launched a particular report warning the community that fentanyl is getting the dominant and most widespread opioid in Pennsylvania. The artificial drug is a lot more strong than heroin and has contributed to a significant increase in overdose deaths during the condition. 

“Fentanyl is deadly, and is inexpensive to manufacture,” said Shapiro. “Fentanyl is about 50 periods far more strong than heroin and 100 instances more powerful than morphine, with doses offering for the price of a 6 pack of beer. Just just one fentanyl-laced counterfeit tablet is sufficient to result in an overdose.” 

Pennsylvania logged 5,224 drug overdose deaths in 2021, in accordance to state details. Nationally, 1 million overdose fatalities have been recorded since the commencing of the opioid crisis in 1999, in accordance to the Nationwide Centre for Overall health Figures. 

Gov. Tom Wolf supports Struzzi’s legislation as portion of his administration’s attempts to battle the overdose crisis all through the point out. 

“The administration is supportive of this laws and acknowledges that hurt reduction is an vital portion of our struggle against the opioid and overdose crisis,” claimed Elizabeth Rementer, the governor’s press secretary. “The governor, who all over his administration has prioritized addressing material use condition and protecting against opioid overdoses, appears to be forward to signing this bill into law and also urges swift passage of companion laws to legalize syringe providers packages in the commonwealth.”  

Even though fentanyl check strips continue to be criminalized through significantly of the point out, some municipalities have begun to decriminalize them, such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. 

In August 2021, Mayor Jim Kenney officially decriminalized the possession, use and distribution of fentanyl examination strips by using executive buy as a damage reduction system intended to motivate people to spread awareness of the amount of money of fentanyl in the substances they are utilizing. 

At the time, Kenney pointed out that that the metropolis necessary to benefit from each individual resource and offered method to help you save lives amid the popular opioid disaster. 

“We gain absolutely nothing by penalizing the distribution and use of fentanyl check strips, which are proven to support persons evaluate and reduce their hazard of overdose,” Kenney reported. “Fentanyl examination strips are a lifetime-saving tool that we encourage men and women to have, use and share with some others.” 

Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto later followed match that month, signing his own executive get prohibiting arrests for the use or distribution of fentanyl exam strips. 

In his direct get, Peduto noted fentanyl was observed in 77% of Allegheny County overdose fatalities in 2020 and that the COVID-19 pandemic manufactured matters harder on those enduring habit, with isolation usually leading to enhanced material use and frequency. 

Struzzi’s monthly bill heads to the state Senate in the coming weeks for yet another vote. 


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