New Bill Would Define Drug Paraphernalia To Exclude Fentanyl Test Strips

A lawmaker in Oklahoma City is looking to help to the thousands of lives claimed by Fentanyl overdoses in the state by legalizing fentanyl testing strips.

Sunday, February 19th 2023, 5:51 pm

By: News On 6, Kaitlyn Deggs


Fentanyl overdose is a growing problem in Oklahoma, and one lawmaker is looking to bring the numbers down with a new bill legalizing Fentanyl testing strips.

Experts say Fentanyl testing strips can help prevent people from overdosing.

"Folks are taking just a little bit and they are going into overdose immediately,” said Samantha Jenkins with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. “So, if we don't want to see people die of drug overdoses, this is something that we need to engage in."

Fentanyl testing strips can be used to see if there are traces of Fentanyl in other drugs.

But as of right now, lawmakers say it could argue these tests are illegal.

"If you were to take a handful of lawyers right now, half would say that yes, it is drug paraphenalia, therefore it's illegal, and then half would say no, it's not,” said Representative Mickey Dollens. (D-Oklahoma City). “But the bottom line is (that) it's not clearly stated in state statute.”

Oklahoma House Bill 1987, if passed, would define what is considered drug paraphernalia and state that Fentanyl test strips are not part of that group.

Dollens says access to Fentanyl testing can help people stay alive so they have the chance to recover.

"Fentanyl testing strips is a piece of the puzzle toward helping addicts get on the road to recovery,” said Dollens. “And the most important thing, while they're on that road to recovery, is that they stay alive."

Experts say this bill could help groups wanting to distribute testing strips do so without worrying about breaking the law.

"That is just important so that people who are trying to stay healthy and engage in harm reduction are able to do so without worrying that there's going to be a repercussion," said Jenkins.

The bill will now go to the House floor for a vote, and if it passes there, it will head to the Senate.

Dollens says the bill has an emergency clause, which means if it’s passed, it could go into effect in as little as three months.

You can find more addiction resources by clicking HERE.


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